Moroccan carpets & rugs: everything you require to know

The greatest rugs and carpets at lower costs

Moroccan carpets and rugs: all the information you really have to know

The Berber tribes of Morocco have historically produced Moroccan carpets, sometimes referred to as Moroccan rugs, which are a particular style of handwoven woolen carpet. These carpets are renowned for their distinctive patterns and designs, which frequently incorporate strong geometric shapes and vivid colors.
The “Berber knot,” a sort of hand-knotting that yields a dense and robust pile, is a weaving method commonly used to produce these carpets. These carpets are often made using wool from local sheep, which is prized for its softness and toughness.

Morocco has manufactured carpets for generations, and they have long been admired for their beauty and excellence. Moroccan carpets are one of the most recognizable representations of traditional Berber workmanship today and are in high demand all over the world. They come in a wide range of sizes, designs, and colors to suit any taste or decor and are frequently used to bring warmth, texture, and color to a room.

An overview of Moroccan carpets and rugs

Not just in Morocco, but all around the world, rugs and carpets have been a crucial component of human existence for a very long time. Wool has been used for thousands of years, and it is believed that China and Persia are where it all began. In Siberia, the knotted carpet was first discovered in the fifth century BCE. The creation of blankets and floor decorations for the wintertime coincides with the widespread introduction of this technique.

It took time for this sheepskin floor covering to become a typical and everyday item, yet it never lost the refined and proud cultural differences of its creators. As a result, the carpet has developed into a form of art in Morocco that can be compared to the major weaving traditions of Europe, Persia, Asia, and the East, both in the imperial centers and the Berber lands.

The evolution of Moroccan carpets and rugs

Two different weaving traditions were used to make this carpet in Morocco. Rugs made in cities like Rabat, Fes, and Mediouna are blatant examples of their eastern roots, which first appeared around the end of the wealthy Andalusian era. In the fifteenth century, Muslim artists from Spain were compelled to emigrate to Morocco. The traditional Berber carpet appears to have a long history. In the southeast of Morocco, many ancient rock carvings fit with many traditional patterns.

One of the forty-five different Berber tribes that live in Morocco is responsible for the majority of the carpets and rugs you’ll see in stores. Every Moroccan Berber rug is individually hand-woven on a loom and has a unique pattern. In their free time, ladies typically perform this task. Depending on their size, complexity, and the amount of time available, rugs can take anywhere from 10 days to six months to make. Typically, rugs are used in homes or at special events. After then, they are traded or sold as goods.

The various Moroccan Berber carpets and rugs

The majority of Berber women who live in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains and rural areas produce the Berber carpet. From mothers to daughters, they pass down weaving techniques including weaving patterns in which enigmatic geometry and Tifinaghe, the Amazigh people’s traditional script, or even universal iconography depicting scenes from daily life, are intertwined (animals, birds, camels, etc.).

Carpet weaving is a crucial occupation for these Berber families, who have traditionally lived a nomadic and pastoral lifestyle. This becomes one of their main sources of income.

Last but not least, the Berber carpet is a profound and sincere echo of the places that have welcomed these people for thousands of years, evolving over time and especially since their settlement, becoming the mirror of their identity.
Hence, the art of Berber carpets is distinct from the numerous Moroccan provinces found in the Atlas Mountain region.

What source do the colors in Moroccan carpets have?

In the past, Berber women used herbs and minerals to color the wool themselves. The custom required the weaver who would be performing the dyeing to first cleanse herself by taking a ceremonial bath.

1. Yellow

On the Siroua massif, a type of broom known as Achfoud grows wild and provides the color yellow. To make a yellow dye, the yellow blossoms of this plant are harvested and dried in the sun. To maintain the color of the woolly fiber, a mordant is applied. It is alum, also known as azarif locally, a mineral that is also present in the Siroua.

2. The red

Taroubia, a type of wild madder that grows in the area, is used to make red. To make a dye, this plant’s roots are harvested and sun-dried. Even now, alum is employed as a mordant.

3. The blue

The blue color comes from the Nila indigo tree, whose stem is 80 cm tall.

The dyeing recipes could be better prepared thanks to the usage of additional auxiliary ingredients. Consequently, Draa Valley-grown henna as well as crushed apple tree bark, dried date pulp, turnip, dried fig, forge slag, lampblack, or slaked lime were frequently employed.

What do the motifs of Moroccan Berber carpets and rugs symbolize?

The decorative themes employed are a representation of the craftswomen’s tribe culture. These motifs and symbols are connected to the spirit of coexistence that has always existed in these Amazigh tribes since a remote period of time with people of other cultures and religious beliefs (Muslims, Jews, Berbers, Christians). Hence, the most remarkable illustration of a spirit of cohabitation and tolerance is seen in Berber carpets.

A broad variety of patterns and symbols are featured in the decorative designs of Ouaouzguite rugs. Floral or animal patterns, representations of the natural world, the sun, the moon, and the stars are all added to the traditional geometric patterns.
Many designs found on Moroccan rugs and carpets have their roots in sexual symbolism. The woman, the man, the union of the sexes, marriage, love, the beloved, followed by pregnancy, childbirth, and life, are all represented in various ways by them.

How to bargain for Moroccan carpets?

It can happen while exploring the old city that you become distracted in a market, a neighborhood, or even just a carpet store. In this situation, you have either just recognized or have long anticipated that there is no possible way to go without that wonder of vivid, variegated, fringed, tufted, or just exquisite (underline the appropriate adjective) Moroccan carpets. Here are a few pointers to aid you in navigating the incredibly challenging yet intriguing process of carpet dealer discussion.

Carpet shopping is a game. And make an effort to have fun during this procedure. Worrying, fidgeting, or feverishly counting things will only harm you or the outcome of the transaction because the seller is fully aware of their obligations.

Where to buy carpets in Morocco?

The worst places to buy carpets are in Marrakech and other tourist hotspots since they are overrun with people. It is preferable to carry it out in one of the tiny Atlas Mountain communities. There are shops with set prices or what are known as “artists’ syndicates,” which are typically mentioned in guidebooks, with average prices and high-quality products. But, you can get what you want for less money than in the fixed-price stores by haggling well in the ordinary carpet stores. Visit a store with a fixed pricing if you want to save time, and you’ll be given a fair price. Yet by doing so, you will deny yourself the chance to obtain even a small portion of what brought you to the far-off Maghreb in the first place.

The customary method for making carpets

The art of carpet weaving is supported by a wide range of customs and traditions. The wool is handled delicately and processed in accordance with a ritual that is passed down from generation to generation, from shearing to warping. The wool is placed in a covert area of the house after shearing. To ward off bad powers, the women expose the various baths to starlight the day before the coloring procedure. The weaver purifies herself like she would for her daily prayers before fumigrating the wool that is ready to be dyed and hiding it from view.

The weaver returns to the spa the following morning at daybreak to start the hanging after saying “Bismillah” (In the name of God). After the carpet is complete on her loom, the warp of threads that supports it is severed, which sparks a number of rites. Since the door must be kept closed until the finish, the weaver is frequently the only one who can complete this task.

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