Many motifs are used in traditional kilims, each with many variations. In Turkish Anatolia in particular, women wove themes significant for their lives into their rugs, whether before marriage or during married life. Some motifs represent desires, such as for happiness and children; others, for protection against threats such as wolves and scorpions, or against the evil eye.
In these tribal societies, women wove kilims at different stages of their lives, choosing themes appropriate to their own circumstances. Some of the motifs used are widespread across Anatolia but patterns vary between tribes and villages, and rugs often expressed personal and social meaning.