Protective Eye Symbols to Ward Off The Evil Eye
The eye motif in antique rugs as a protective symbol against the evil eye
Protective Eye Motif Rug Symbols: The Eye motif, or the “evil eye” is a common motif prevalent in many rug-making cultures, especially those in Africa and West Asia. The eye is a protective symbol, stemming from the superstition or outright belief that one could be cursed simply by being looked at malevolently.
In many cultures, it is believed that being cursed by the “evil eye” would wreak havoc on a person’s life, or even kill them. In religions like Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, this idea can be traced back to several mentions of the evil eye in the old testament of the Bible. The idea of the evil eye is also mentioned repeatedly in Islamic texts.
Amulets, talismans, and symbols of the eye are often used as protective shields against its powers. For this reason, images depicting the eye can be found in many rug designs from cultures with a history of believing in this superstition. In rugs and carpets, the eye often appears abstracted, as a dot within a circle or diamond shape.
Below are several examples of the protective eye motif that appear in antique and vintage rugs from the Nazmiyal Antique Carpet Collection which is located in the heart of Manhattan, New York City: