Among the great nomadic tribes of Persia and the Caucasus, the weaving of hand-knotted rugs was the sacred activity of women. For centuries and more, grandmothers, mothers and daughters - often from the age of five or six - worked on small portable looms. Their menfolk sheared the fat-tailed sheep and dyed the yarns. New rugs were often begun on special occasions, such as the birth of a child, but only after special prayers were said for the protection and well being of the weaver's clan. Rugs already in progress were often resumed the day after a birth, as if to incorporate the spirit of the new being into the design. No weaving was done during periods of mourning. In this way, death was honored and time was taken to digest the experience of loss. Motifs, often inspired by nature, were passed down from generation to generation. Today, these patterns remain compelling owing to the fact that many embody attributes their makers deemed essential to a life well lived. The boteh above is known by agricultural tribes as the Seed of Life symbolizing abundance. Some believe the boteh represents the interconnectedness of life, the idea that everything in the universe stems from a common seed. Below are the motifs called Diamonds of Strength, which symbolize the resources that reside deep within each of us; the fortitude and persistence that allow us to weather life's difficulties, as well as to appreciate life's joys.