More About Moroccan Berber Rugs
More than 20,000 years ago, a native culture of North and Sub-Saharan Africa called the Berbers first appeared in Morocco. These Berber tribes have a long and complex history, stretching all the way back to the Paleolithic era. Linked together by their language, rooted in Berber cultures, spread from Morocco to Egypt, these communities are as connected to their ancestral beliefs today as they were centuries ago. From dancing to clothing designs, Berber traditions express their strong desire for spiritual ties. To this day Berber people remain steadfastly connected to their traditional roots and continue to wander the deserts of Africa in search of a life free from societal pressures. It’s believed that Berber rugmaking as well started as early as the Paleolithic era.
Modern-day Berbers of varied tribal affiliations call themselves Amazigh, a Tamazight word meaning "Free Men." The Amazigh reside in Morocco, Algeria and in smaller communities in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria, as well as in diasporic communities around the world.
The tradition of Berber RugsFor centuries Berber tribes have been creating beautiful and distinctive rugs that tell the story of their culture. Many of the tribes that make up the Berber were born in the Middle and High Atlas Mountains. Berber rug makers draw as much inspiration from their environment as they do from their own emotions when weaving these works, using bold color dyes or neutral natural wool to create traditional rugs. The nomadic Berber lifestyle is one that is reflected in the design of many Berber rugs which incorporate symbols of family, protection, and free will. Moroccan Berber rugs are usually woven by women and can take anywhere from several months to several years to create depending on the complexity of the rug.
These rugs are versatile for various homes and styles because it naturally comes in neutral shades with or without specks of color creating various designs.
Popular Types of Moroccan Berber Rugs
Azilal rugs are widely regarded as true works of art. These one-of-a-kind pieces are handmade by Moroccan Berber in the Middle Atlas Mountain range, resulting in an exquisite combination of vivid colors and tactile textures that fit well into both traditional and contemporary decor. The weavers include several intricate details to create a unique design - often featuring colorful patterns inspired by nature and geometric shapes - that adds depth and interest to the Azilal rug. Although Azilal rugs come in varying sizes, they typically have a small knotting technique to produce a luxuriously thick pile. This type of rug will add an elegant, eye-catching feel to any living space. It’s no wonder Azilal rugs are beloved Berber rugs and a symbol of Moroccan heritage worldwide.
The Beni Ourain tribes are an enigmatic group of people from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. They have been resident in these mountains for centuries, and their name translates to ‘sons of the light’ – a tribute to their legendary pride, resilience, and strength which has seen them through difficult times. Their skillful weaving techniques are passed down from generation to generation, and many believe their rugs possess spiritual powers originating from prayers recited during the Berber rug weaving process.
Hand-woven in Morocco, Boujad rugs bring a sense of outdoor Moroccan beauty indoors. These unique pieces of art feature a recognizable geometric pattern and an impressive color palette that includes vivid shades of pink, yellow, grey, and black as well as earthier tones like blue, brown, and ochre. Boujad rugs sometimes combine different pile lengths giving them a three-dimensional texture. It is this time-honored approach that drives the distinctiveness of these amazing pieces that faithfully carry on the reputation for excellence associated with North African culture.