A Kilim Concept: Infinity

Kilim concept: INFINITY

There are many elements that combine in Anatolian kilims to make them a desirable addition to any home.  The range of colours, motifs and weaving styles can result in a truly stunning array of traditional tribal art that is both decorative and functional.

Karapinar yastik

Karapinar yastik

Besides the motifs, there is a greater meaning that can be understood from some Anatolian kilims.  It is the concept of ‘infinity’.

We have all heard the anecdotes from some rug dealers who will spin the most detailed life history of a weaver once laying eyes on a particular kilim.  Whilst it makes a good yarn I am not sure how credible such stories are.  I find there is more than enough real visual information to be received from a kilim if you can take the time.

Taurus Mountain cicim

Taurus Mountain cicim

It had always puzzled me why the weavers would go to the trouble of making such beautiful symmetrical pieces and then cut the design or the motif off.  I put it down to chance; that was just how it is.  But after looking at more and more kilims and with the same concept being repeated, I realised that it is not by chance; indeed it is designed that way for a reason.

Tavas kilim

Tavas kilim

There is no doubt the weavers use motifs and designs that mean something to them.  Usually it is to express some hope or desire like happiness, protection, abundance etc. So it would make sense that the weavers are wishing for these attributes to continue forever.

From Peter Stone’s ‘Tribal and Village Rugs’: “Why would a weaver use an awkward and asymmetric framing? What prompted the weaver to frame an off-centre pattern or cut off a medallion? These asymmetries suggest a pervasive design concept.  Consider a weaver imagining an endless repeat.  It stretches to infinity before her, behind her and to either side.  For lack of other landmarks, her only point of reference is herself.  If the weaver sees the design as extending in an infinite plane, then the selection of any segment to be framed by a border is clearly arbitrary.”

IMG_6269Symmetry  –  Vertical Asymmetry  –  Lateral Asymmetry  –  Vertical and Lateral Asymmetry

So what seemed like an odd nuance in kilims is in fact a very deliberate and furthermore essential part of the kilim design. I think once I realised this it was like a light-bulb moment..a-ha! And it made me fall in love even more with these humble creations.


Fethiye runner (#m16)

Fethiye runner (#m16)



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