Colour Symbols and Motifs in Yağcıbedir Rugs and their Meaning
The Yağcıbedir rugs are named after a Yörük (Turkoman) tribe settled in Anatolia some 3000 years ago.
Yağcıbedir rugs are made in the villages of Eşmedere, Çakıllı, Karakaya, Eğridere, Alakır and Kayalıdere around the town of Sındırgı near Balikersir , not far from the Turkish Aegean coast.
There are four principal colours in most Yağcıbedir rugs,
and dyes are exclusively organic: dark blue, which forms the ground colour of most
Yağcıbedir rugs, red, dark red and white.
The rich deep dark blue which symbolizes the sky is obtained
from the root of the labada plant (sorel family).
Red, the colour of henna represents the expectation of fertility. It is
obtained from the local Sarikiz plant and the madder root.
White means the joy and the longing to be a bride; it is mainly used by young
Rugs with white background colour are mainly produced in Eğridere and Alakır villages.
The rare brown which is obtained from the pomegranate or by adding
bush cones to the second water of red represents the cyclical aspect of life; all
living things come from the soil and return to the soil
Black appears in the Yağcıbedir rugs sporadically. Black is
sadness. It is used by older women.
It is obtained by boiling soft black rocks with herbs.
Black cannot be found in rugs from the villages of Eğridere and Alakır.
All (or most) Yağcıbedir rugs feature seven borders
surrounding the central composition which reflects the idea that the sky having
‘In religious or
mythological cosmology, the seven heavens refer to seven levels or divisions of
the Heavens (Heaven). The concept, also
found in the ancient Mesopotamian religions, can be found in Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam …’ (Wikipedia)
The niche or the stepped mihrab typically crowned with ram’s
horns (masculinity symbol) is an indispensable motif in all Yağcıbedir rugs. It
represents the ascent to Heaven.
The motifs of the niche, which is frequent in Islamic art,
it is often argued, evolved out of more ancient and universal motif of the Tree
The Tree of Life frequently found in Yağcıbedir rugs reflects
the hopes and expectation of a better future.
There are three stars which often surround the niche. The star in the middle (within the niche) represents the sun and the other two stars represent the moon. The sun is the star that gives life to the world. The moon is the illuminator of the night.
Mühr-ü Süleyman (Solomon’s seal): it is often locally called “Haci Huseyin Elmasi or Hadji Husein Apple” . It is made for good luck.
Frequency of that motif on the rug indicates that the weaver felt sadness or someone from her family was ill.
The Sycamore Leaf is usually found on the edges of the star in the middle; it is the longest-lived tree in region. It is used as a motif mainly in the carpets from Eşmedere and Çakilli villages.
Meanings of many subtle motifs found in the Yağcıbedir rugs are
lost, and it is hoped that more studies within and without the region will reveal
The Yağcıbedir rugs are all fine quality rugs with 30-35
loops per 1 sq. cm. The knot is Turkish (Görde knot) and the pile is cropped short
perhaps as legacy to their ancestral roots, the Turkoman carpets.
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