All about our Moroccan-made carpets

Berber rugs in Morocco are traditionally made by Berber women in rural areas of the country. It is an ancestral practice that has been passed down from generation to generation. Berber women often use their free time to weave rugs, which allows them to earn additional income for their family. The manufacturing techniques and patterns of the rugs vary according to the regions of Morocco, which gives great diversity in the styles and designs of Berber rugs.

To create Beni Ouarain rugs, a specific wool is used. This is sheep's wool from the mountainous regions of the Atlas, where sheep are raised in harsh climatic conditions. This wool is particularly thick, soft and durable, making it ideal for making durable and soft rugs.

The wool is carefully selected based on its quality, color and length. It is then washed and carded to remove impurities and knots, before being spun by hand or machine to obtain wool yarns used for weaving rugs.

The choice of wool is a key element in the quality of Beni Ouarain rugs, as it not only affects their appearance, but also their durability and comfort.

Here are the general steps for making a Berber rug in Morocco:

  1. The selection and preparation of wool : The wool is carefully selected and sorted according to its quality, color and length. It is then washed and carded to remove impurities and knots.

  2. Dyeing : The wool is then dyed with natural dyes, such as madder, henna, indigo or cochineal, depending on the desired colors.

  3. Weaving : The loom is installed and the warp threads are stretched. The weaver then begins to weave the rug, using traditional techniques to create unique patterns and designs. The rug is woven by hand, which takes a lot of time and patience.

  4. Drawing and finishing : Once the rug is finished, the weaver draws the designs on the rug with chalk or soap. The rug is then cut and fringed around the edges, and adjustments can be made to perfect the pattern.

  5. Washing and drying : The carpet is washed with soap and water to remove any traces of dust or dirt. It is then hung to dry in the sun, allowing it to retain its shape and texture.

There are several types of Berber rugs in Morocco, each with distinct characteristics in terms of patterns, colors and weaving techniques. Here are the main ones:

    1. Beni Ouarain Rug : “Beni Ourain” is the name of the collective of 17 different Berber tribes who live in the Atlas Mountains. Thus, any carpet woven by one of these Berber tribes is a Beni Ourain carpet.

      In ancient times, some Beni Ourain tribes believed that carpets had the power to ward off evil spirits. They then incorporated design elements and lucky charms to provide protection against the evil eye and bring good luck and prosperity. Today, they are still thick and soft carpets highly sought after by designers and architects. They are usually white or cream with black or brown geometric patterns.

    2. Boujaad Rugs : Moroccan Boujaad rugs are made in the Boujaad region, which is located in central Morocco, in the Atlas Mountains. Boujaad is renowned for its traditional crafts, including the making of Berber rugs, which are handmade by local artisans using techniques passed down from generation to generation.

      Boujaad's Moroccan rugs are distinguished by their colorful and vibrant geometric patterns, often made from hand-woven wool. Their traditional design incorporates Berber symbols and motifs, reflecting local history and culture. Each rug is unique, with subtle variations in colors and designs, demonstrating the craftsmanship. The wool used is often naturally dyed, giving the rugs a warm, earthy color palette. Due to their artisanal quality and authentic aesthetic, Boujaad rugs are highly sought after around the world.

    3. Azilal Rugs : These rugs are made by the Azilal tribes in the High Atlas region. They are often colorful with abstract patterns, geometric shapes and tribal symbols.

    4. M'Rirt rugs: Originating from the M'Rirt region, in the Middle Atlas mountains, these are rugs of exceptional quality, which explains their sometimes high price. M'Rirt rugs are renowned for their luxurious wool, which is both soft and dense. This production quality, which has become rare, makes it an exceptional choice for those who prioritize comfort and sophistication.

    5.  Marmoucha rugs: Due to their entirely artisanal manufacturing and the superior quality of the materials used, Marmoucha rugs are relatively rare on the market. The production process can be long and demanding, which contributes to their high price. Their hair, longer than the Beni Ourain, gives a feeling of great softness to the touch. The wool used, of exceptional quality, offers shades ranging from white to pearly shades.

    6. Boucherouite Rugs : These rugs are made from recycled textiles, such as clothing, bags and upholstery. They are often colorful and feature eclectic patterns and designs.

    7. Taznakht Rugs: These rugs are made in the Taznakht region, located in southern Morocco, near the Atlas Mountains. These rugs are also hand-woven by local artisans, often women, using traditional techniques passed down for centuries. Taznakht rugs are distinguished by their intricate patterns and vibrant colors, often inspired by nature and Berber culture. They are woven from sheep's wool or goat's wool, and are renowned for their durability and handcrafted beauty.

    8. Zayan Carpets: These carpets are associated with the city of Zayan, located in the Anti-Atlas region. These women's hand-woven rugs are distinguished by their bright colors and bold patterns, reflecting the influence of Berber culture and the surrounding landscapes. They are appreciated for their authentic aesthetic.

    9. Kilim Rugs : These rugs are flatwoven and are known for their colorful geometric patterns. They are made by several Berber tribes in different regions of Morocco.

    10. Hanbel Rugs : These rugs are flatwoven and are often colorful with simple, geometric patterns. They are made by the Berber tribes of the Middle Atlas.

    11. Talsint Rugs: These rugs are made by the Talsint tribes in southeastern Morocco. They are often colorful with intricate and abstract designs.

How to maintain a Berber rug:

To take care of a Berber carpet, it is advisable to regularly and gently dust the carpet. Ideally, opt for a vacuum cleaner with a soft nozzle.

In the event of stains, blot quickly with absorbent paper, if necessary use baking soda or Sommières earth, before finishing the treatment with a vacuuming session.