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Example of Motif

A motif is essentially a theme, or general characteristic, which describes the environment of a work of art. The word has developed its meaning to refer to abstracts, like the character of a society, or a setting. Motifs are often the basis of styles and fashions, some of which become highly developed or overstated.

Examples of Motif:

The new restaurant has a 1930s jazz club motif.
The ultra-primitive motif always seems to work well in board meetings.
The Austin Powers look isn't necessarily the best motif for actually meeting human beings.
The artwork used a strongly manga motif, so that even the critics looked like anime characters.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motif_%28visual_arts%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motif

Image Example of Motif:

Ajanta cave ceiling motif before entrance, india.

Plant motif, taj mahal.