Moroccan Berber rugs date back all the way to 622 A.D during the Paleolithic era, and today the Berber tribe of Northwestern Africa, the weavers of these historic rugs, are known for their craftsmanship. Woven from wool sheared from the sheep atop the Atlas Mountains, Berber rugs were primarily used for more practical reasons depending on climate such as heavy and thick-woven sleeping mats and bed spreads for the snow covered landscape and flat thin-woven shawls for the unforgiving Sahara Desert.
Typically, no Berber rugs were woven over seven feet since they needed to be easy to carry and they were woven a specific way distinct from other weaving patterns, thus making the rugs even more original. Notable for their natural ivory tones and naturally dyed darker colored wool, Moroccan Berber rugs take up to a year to finish, which speaks more than enough for the delicate handiwork. Because it is not considered simply a hobby, the weavers of these rugs treat them as family heirlooms and see the ability to weave rugs as a rite of passage.
The many bold and geometric patterns presented on these rugs are actually part of an expressive and symbolic language that has been passed down from generation to generation, ranging from meanings of femininity, spirituality, and male protection. Traces of these symbols were found in cave paintings back in the Paleolithic era, indicating that in the absence of written language, these motifs were an important element for communication and understanding. Each rug is a tale of the weaver’s life all the way from childhood, and the purpose behind their craft is to protect the human spirit from any negative energy that affects one’s life and to defend the body from natural elements. Although most Berber rugs are monochromatic and contemporary, some come woven with a hint of color with red meaning strength and protection, blue meaning wisdom, yellow for eternity, and green for peace.
It wasn’t until the 1930s when these rugs were showcased in the west by mid-century modernists, and since then, Moroccan Berber rugs have grown progressively popular. Durability, traditional beauty, and practicality were just some of the reasons why the rugs have gotten and remain to be an attractive addition in the modern home. They’re perfect for those who favor the contemporary and simple fashion, and they’re easily able to integrate with most types of furniture. Whether it’s a high-end luxury home or a modest and cozy abode, Berber rugs can be the ideal accent to either. Having one of these rugs can make one appreciate the artistry and feel awed by the presence of hundreds of years of culture encapsulated into woven strands meant to protect and give off good energy.