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Rug Motifs - The Boteh

One of the most ancient motifs in oriental rugs - the boteh. It's use completely transcends the geometric/floral frontiers as it's used in Turki speaking villages of the Hamadan area to the Farsi speaking towns of Qum. The geometric form of the design is normally accepted to be the older form of the motif with the floral design thought to have first appeared at a later date. Whatever its history, the motif offers a useful clue to the rugs origin and in many cases the precise shape can be used to determine the specific area.

The motif is basically the shape of a pear with the top bent over. In some designs there is a leaf or tail at the bottom. They are all stylized differently and as mentioned above each different colour and pattern is stereotypical to a certain region. The boteh can be found in Indian, Turkmen, Persian and Caucasian rugs. In almost every different type of rug. The origin for the motif is different from region to region, from the likeness to birds, similarities to plants and leaves and even fruits.

Nowadays the motif is mainly used as a sign of fertility. The design, which can also be compared to the paisley pattern can be seen repeating throughout the main field of a rug. The reason this type of design is often seen as so beautiful in Persian rugs is because although the boteh repeats and this can be seen as too structured, the asymmetrical design of the motif means it gives off more of a flowing feel.

A few examples of the boteh motif can be found below.