Berber Rugs: The History Behind

Timeless, durable, warm and comfortable, the Berber carpet is a unique object of art that has become a staple of contemporary and vintage furniture. Transmitted from generation to generation, the art of hand knotted rugs has been a major part of the Berber culture, whose origins go back to unmemorable times.

The similarity of the knotting technique and some of their motifs indicate an origin dating back to the Neolithic of Asia Minor.

When comparing the motifs of Berber rugs with the artifacts of the earliest expressions of mankind, the same principles in the use of signs and forms can be found. This surprising similarities with the Upper Paleolithic of Europe and Neolithic of the East and Mediterranean basin suggest that Berber rugs can be considered as the last testimony of the archaic era.

Isolated in the Atlas Mountains, away from the silk road, Berber carpets knew no influence from the civilizations of Antiquity and have therefore kept their originality.

The geometric shapes assembled in mosaics are an essential element of the Berber carpets and are not the result of pure chance: they form an abstract language with a very particular meaning. Much more than just an object, each carpet tells a story, the one that the weaver chooses to express through her creativity: her culture, her family, the stages of her life as a woman, her environment ... Their interpretation revolves essentially around the symbolism of the body and nature. Among the rich repertoire of motifs, diamonds, broken lines, crosses…appear most often. 

The making of a rug is a craft know-how that is transmitted from mother to daughter according to custom. From shearing to weaving and dyeing, its production follows a very precise ritual of a religious nature.

In some parts of Morocco, wool is considered a gift of heaven protecting against the forces of evil. The wool is therefore a sacred material that must be worked with care and with the greatest respect.

Until now the Berber rug is central to the economic and daily life of a Berber tribe and a precious daily object with multiple uses: mattress, blanket, bag of grains, decoration ... His sale makes it possible to support a whole family, and he still figures in the bride's keychain.

Its sacredness, its long production, and its finesse also make it a luxury present: very popular in Europe from the Middle Ages, it held a place of choice among the many precious objects offered to ambassadors or princes as a pledge of political or family alliance.

In the 19th century, the Moroccan carpet is one of the most exported products to Europe and this craze has not aged since it is still today acclaimed for its aestheticism and exoticism.