Berber Carpet - Trending Since Forever
If you take a stroll through the local markets of Fez and Marrakesh, you are likely to be accompanied by a large number of attentive rug merchants. You shake one-off, another will be there to offer you a cup of tea in his showroom. Once you accept his offer, you will be entering a shop with carpets piled from the floor to the ceiling - they are everywhere. And once you start paying attention, you will realise that most of them are a piece of Berber art - absolute beauties.
Cosy and comfy as well as right on-trend, Berber carpet refer to beautifully hand-woven Moroccon rugs in North Africa’s ethnic group. This group has a vibrant culture, which beautifully demonstrated in their carpets, clothing and cutlery. It shows their broad-mindedness, their independence, their visualisation. Berber rugs are ancient; have been trending since the Paleolithic era. They were mainly hand-woven by women while men took care of the cattle, which allowed them to have wool, cotton and plants so that women could weave and dye the raw material. The women were not only in charge of weaving but also of making various objects necessary for daily life.
The design discussed is known as boucherouite. Boucherouite derived from a Moroccan-Arabic phrase which refers to recycled or torn clothing. The carpets it describes, are variations on the humble rag rug. The unusual patterns and vibrant colours compliment other household items, and the house looks all set for a jolting party. Even though the production of wool from sheepherding much reduced in Morocco, Berber culture has become the centre of attention for the global market, and beni ourain are more in demand now.
For many tourists, negotiating the price of these traditional Moroccan carpets become a fun and memorable experience for a lifetime.
These carpets subdivided into two categories: the urban ones and the rural ones. The urban rugs are referred to as Rabat carpets because the hub of the urban carpet industry is Rabat. The tradition of weaving rugs in Rabat goes way back to the 18th century. The carpet-making tradition and the unique weaving technique has been passed down from generation to generation. Urban carpets are usually thicker and have larger geometric patterns instead of living creatures, as Islamic art inspires most of the Moroccan art. On the contrary, rural carpets are thin and have small borders. Urban or rustic, the rugs are gorgeous, and a must-buy!
Even though the Berbers are widespread in Morocco’s different areas, different tribes pass different weaving traditions. They differ by region; carpets produced in colder regions are thick due to climatic influence, whereas the tribes in hotter regions weave thin and summer-friendly carpets.
You will find the best thick carpets and small rugs or even blankets in the Middle Atlas Mountains. Those are simple in design and can have up to 1.5 inches of the pile. Flatly woven carpets are usually intricate and colourful and typically used as a thin floor cover. The town of Azrou is a great place to look for these carpets.
While in the Middle Atlas, you only see women indulged in carpet weaving business, in eastern Morocco, both women and men actively participate in producing great carpets. While the ladies tend to create more uncomplicated and intricate carpets without heavy borders, men focus on becoming master weavers to make elaborate carpets. Apart from the Middle Atlas, other areas where Berber rug/carpet making continues to thrive in the Haouz region and parts of southern Morocco also offer a great variety of these rugs.
When you decide it is time to spend on a carpet, you need to ask specific questions to be 100% sure that this is the right carpet for you. You should be asking about the knot density, the type of dye (whether it is chemical or comes from a natural resource) and the type of thread used. Higher quality carpets have a higher knot density for every square meter; the dye is top quality; they are handmade from pure wool or nylon. Cheaper ones that made of olefin look good too, but these are highly flammable, attract more dirt, moving a chair across the carpet can create scorch marks, and they tend to turn grey over time. The dyes used to produce bolder colours in cheaper rugs are chemical and tend to fade away. On the other hand, natural dyes give soft pastel colours and tend to stay for a very long time, without any fading.
If you have decided to purchase a traditional Berber rug, don’t do it instantly. Take your time, do some research and get quotes from several shops before deciding on your final purchase. Some shops might ship the carpet back to your home address for free, while others can ask for an extra fee. To get the best prices, make sure you buy your carpet as close to its source as possible. This way, more money goes to the women carpet weavers, which is their right.
Berber rugs bring warmth and comfort to a room. Choosing the right colour and pattern could help you amp up your home decor. Just make sure the colour scheme and design is appropriate for the place where you want to install it, and you will love your purchase! When you love your rug, you love the space you put it in. But loving the rug and area is not enough, you must know how to maintain it to extend its longevity. Vacuum it regularly and gently, and you will not have to purchase a new rug for years.