The Unique History Of Moroccan Rugs

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Morocco is an inspiring country in so many ways. Moroccans have a unique style when it comes to food, music, clothing, body art and of course home decor. One of their most well-known pieces of decor is a Moroccan rug. Here are the interesting details on how they came to be, so if you’re planning on getting a rug or two, these pieces of information might be worth knowing:

1. It’s all about the climate

Before we start, it’s important to emphasize the importance of Moroccan geography, This northern African country lies both on Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert, so the rug has to be matched with the climate of the area. In the Atlas area, where there’s snow, rugs are thick and heavy, while those living in the desert create their rugs to be light, flat and thinner. Also, since Moroccans tended to be nomads, moving from one area to another, they developed the rugs pieces that are easily folded and transportable. Therefore, it’s understandable that rugs vary in shape, size, texture, and thickness — their makers all come from different places, and they all had to create something that will be of high quality and durable.

2. Each area has its own style

As we’ve already established, Morocco is distinctive on so many levels. It’s Middle-eastern, Mediterranean and snowy at the same time, so it’s expected that each of these areas has their special ways when it comes to weaving and creating carpets. In the capital of Rabat, people traditionally weave floral patterns. The center of rug making is the city of Fes, where rug manufacturing dates back to the 13th century when Fes was flooded with dyers and embroiders. At one point there were over 100 people specialized in rug making. So it’s no wonder that each city developed its distinctive style and patterns.

3. They weren’t just rugs

Here in the West, we tend to see rugs as smart floor decoration pieces, but in the long Moroccan history, they’d been used for many purposes. Native Berber tribes had been using them as bed covers for the winter months, saddle blankets, sleeping mats, clothes and during burial ceremonies. They might seem like ordinary rugs, but they hold a significant place in Moroccan culture and history as they’ve had multiple uses in their households for many years. Some of them, like Handira rugs, were used by people traveling back home. Sometimes, brides would be wearing them on their shoulders during weddings. The family of the bride would carefully make a rug weeks before the wedding ceremony, so it’s obvious why rugs have such an important place in Moroccan history.

4. They’re timeless

Even though it looks like they are a recent trend, but these rugs have been around for centuries. The history of unique Moroccan rugs has been intertwined with the history of people from Morocco, especially the hardworking and dedicated women who worked tirelessly and lovingly to create and perfect them. Some themes and motifs that run through the designs are fertility, womanhood, life in the village and femininity. Aside from that, it’s worth pointing out that each rug requires a tremendous amount of work since weaving and wool threading usually take a few days.

5. Patterns and textures are important

For the untrained eye, rugs look just like any other, filled with different colors and patterns, but actually, there’s much more to that. There are many unique styles and each one of them represents a special portion of Moroccan people and their origins. Beni Ourain rugs are characterized by having no color and having knotted fringe ends and crisscrossed patterns. They are made of sheep wool and are usually shaggy. On the other hand, Oulmes rugs are colorful and contain various hues of red and geometrical shapes. Originally made by Zemmour tribe from Middle Atlas region, today they’re one of the most popular types of Moroccan rugs around the world.

6. Westerners love them too

Although they’ve been gaining in popularity recently, Moroccan rugs have been unknown prior to the 20th century. After companies like Le Corbusier introduced them in the West, people started paying more attention to these gorgeous pieces of decor. Intrinsic details combined with interesting geometric patterns and the overall rustic feel were more than enough for Westerners to fall in love with Moroccan rugs and start buying them for their homes. Hippie culture in the 1960s and the resurgence of Bohemian styles in the early 2000s only increased the popularity of Moroccan-infused decorations.

Featured image: Unsplash

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The Unique History Of Mor…

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