The Berber Rug Guide, All You Need to Know

Berber rugs are known worldwide for their beauty and their pleasant ethnic touch. These rugs are warm and comforting at the same time. They are now part of the Moroccan cultural heritage.

Moroccan Berber carpets were designed by the Berber tribe because of the needs of the climatic conditions they faced throughout the year. These tribes traveled to the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara Desert and the rainforests in Morocco. To cope with the distinctive climatic conditions, they began to weave special rugs called Berber rugs.

What is special about Moroccan rugs?

To have a Moroccan Berber rug at home is to bring into your home a little glimmer of this beautiful country that makes the soul grow! It is true, the Moroccan Berber rug is really loaded with stories and emotions. The word rug is defined “Zarabia” in Arabic, “Tazerbyt” in Berber, and precisely, in Morocco, it is the word “qtifa” that is often used. The Berber rug in general, but more particularly the true Moroccan Berber rug, has an unparalleled reputation!

Wool rugs, Berber rugs also called: “rugs of North Africa”, transmit the name of the region, the ethnic group, the tribe and therefore, the country in which they were designed.

Why are Moroccan rugs so popular?

With a Berber rug, the interior gains a lot of cachet. Whether you have in mind to multiply the colors with a Kilim rug, to adopt the warm impressionist with a Boucherouite style or to play the subtlety by betting on the discrete geometry of a Beni Ouarain, your taste will be immediately enhanced by this authentic wool decoration. Hand-woven, the Azilal rug will give another style to your room, thanks to the bangs on both sides of the weaving.

If the greatest designers of interior decoration as well as fashion designers are now focusing on Berber fashion, it is because these patterns and colors are really promising. There are many inexpensive Berber rugs, made in the pure tradition of the Atlas, for the comfort of your home.

What do the symbols on Moroccan rugs mean?

The analysis and the deep knowledge of all the Berber motives and signs could not be contained in a few lines. Moreover and as a reminder, the Berber motives and signs vary from one region to another and according to the country, in the forms, the colors and also the belonging to the tribes etc…

It is the practice of tattooing, meant in Berber by “Ticheret, Aayacha, wachem” which is the oldest rite of the Berber culture. As in the Berber culture the woman is representative of the earth and, of all the symbolism of the earth, Berber tattoos are found mainly on the body (hands, legs, belly, thighs) and the face (forehead, cheeks and chin) of women.

For the weaving and in particular that of the splendid Berber moroccan rugs, one can say, that the majority of the Berber reasons and Berber signs carried out, always have a family, sexual and natural connotation.  The symbolism is therefore most often assimilated to the couple, the family and all the acts of daily life. The Berber symbols follow the inspiration of the women who weave these works.

How can you tell if a Moroccan rug is real ?

Nylon, wool, Beni Ouaran, Azilal or Boucherouite rugs, you have multiple types to choose from in order to find THE one. Now, it is appropriate to ask: how to recognize a true Berber rug? It would be a shame to find the ideal model you’ve been desparate to buy just to realize it was a pure factory creation, don’t you think?

Berber rugs are recognizable by 4 elements:

  1. The material: they are always made of sheep’s wool from the Middle Atlas, extra-virgin, without dye, with a very soft touch
  2. The color: traditional rugs generally have handmade pigmentations, although there are more sober or pastel models.
  3. The knotting: the Berber rug is handmade, the knotting can not be regular. Hence the irregularities at the corners of the rug.
  4. The bangs: made on a loom, the bangs on one side is the signature of the Berber rugs. They represent the finishing knots of the carpet.

Apart from the typical traditional rug, many other elements are inspired by Berber design, so you can afford to give “a Berber style” to your home!

How much should I pay for a rug in Morocco?

There are dozens of variables that affect the price of a rug.

Age, style, design, condition, etc., are all variables. Where you buy the rug versus where the rug was made, how much the store paid, the popularity of that style at the time also comes into play.

A small authentic rug will only cost you $150 to $200. However, an average price ranges from $650 to $900. An older vintage Berber rug or larger rugs can go for $1 500 to $3 000 and up. Buying a rug is not “cheap” but it is MUCH cheaper than buying it outside of Morocco.

If you are considering buying a rug, don’t go empty-handed. You will want to have an idea of the size of the rug you want or need. This is very important. Keep in mind that sizes are done in metric and most rugs are not made in the same dimensions as western rugs. They are usually much more rectangular to fit Moroccan homes.

You should also have ideas for colors and designs that you like. A Pinterest search will turn up hundreds of different Moroccan rugs. Familiarize yourself with some of the style names you like. Every tribe in Morocco has a different style, so when you say “Moroccan” rug, it encompasses a LOT of different styles and designs.

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