Symbolism of Overall Design: Individual motifs included in the design of carpets have certain inherent symbolism, but the carpet as a whole usually had a central theme. For example, in Persian carpets had a theme as the Garden of Eden, a symbol of eternal paradise. The flowers, birds, and water, all symbolized a freedom from the harsh desert, and a promise of eternal happiness.
The Garden of Eden concept has continued on in the Oriental designs. Garlands, vines, flowers, trees, animals, and beasts all together create a landscape, picturing hunting scenes or game, lakes with water birds, and often ‘images of supernatural or celestial beings, such as jinn, houris, or a gathering of the blissful righteous at a banquet or dance’. The verses are included to support the image, lyrically extolling the carpet as a garden.
Rugs and carpets are more formal and are designed as stand alone or independent units. Whereas tapestries are often conceived as sub parts of larger design or configuration. Laces were primarily designed as borders.
Designs usually consist of an inner field -the pattern in the centre of the carpet, and a border. The border as the frame on a picture, to emphasize the limits and isolate the field. The design of inner field and border were mutually harmonizing, but distinct entities.
Borders consist of a minimum of three elements: a main band, which varies greatly in width according to the size of the item and the elaborateness of the field design. The inner stripes and outer guard stripes accompany the main band on its sides. The guard stripes may be the same on both sides of the main band, or be different.
Inner Field: The inner field consists of an all-over pattern, a panel composition, or a medallion item. The all-over pattern may be of identical repeats, juxtaposed or evenly spaced. It may also be of varied motifs in a unified system. The design almost invariably includes bilaterally balanced repetitions. The varied motif type of design is found often in representations of the parks or woods.
The most frequent medallion composition consists of a central patterned field, complemented with corner pieces. But multiple-medallions are also developed as a chain of medallions on the vertical axis, two or more forms of medallions alternating in bands, and spotted medallions that may or may not be interconnected or interlocked.