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Area Rug Guide: Beautiful Moroccan Rugs

Photo by KAOTARU on Unsplash

Moroccan rugs are classic must-haves that can subtly fill a room with warmth and character. They have simple patterns but are considered by many designers as great centerpieces for modern and contemporary spaces. 

Moroccan style rug 90566. Size: 9′ x 11’10”

Rug History and Origin

 Moroccan rugs were first handwoven by the nomadic Berber tribes. This popular rug style is often seen as modern but actually has a long and colorful history. The indigenous Berber people who roamed the mountainous region of North Africa began weaving rugs thousands of years ago with many expert accounts pointing to the Stone Age. It continues to flourish to this day due to an ever increasing demand for tribal rug designs in Western and European countries.

 But before it became chic and adorned the floors of Western and European homes, the Moroccan carpet had a more utilitarian purpose. The Berber rugs were often used as bed covering, sleeping mat, cloak, saddle blanket, or even a shroud for a dead relative’s body. The thick wool used in making them also helped in protecting them from the cold in the High Atlas mountains or the sweltering heat of the Saharan Desert. 

 The City of Fez is an important economic center in Morocco. It’s acknowledged by many historians as having a major contribution to the rise and fame of the rug-making industry in the country. The city’s golden age happened during the Marinid Dynasty of the thirteenth century when thousands of artisanal embroidery studios and hundreds of dye workers flourished in its medina formed by Fez el-Jedid (half-old) and Fez el-Bali (old city of Fez). 

 The rugs became even more renowned when important mid-century designers like Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, and Ray & Charles Eames illustrated just how versatile their designs can be. .They experimented with thick piled Berber rugs by pairing them with sleek pieces of furniture. The primitive or tribal designs in these carpets were also said to have appealed to modernist designers. 

Patterns, Designs, and Colors

 Experts note that Moroccan rug designs sprang from the fusion of central and western Turkey in the mid-1800s. Although patterns and motifs vary by city, Moroccan rugs are primarily distinguished by bold geometric details like crossing lines and diamonds as opposed to the soft, floral patterns and ornate medallions of other Oriental rugs. This unique style known today as ‘Moroccan’ is attributed to the Beni Ourain Berber tribe who inhabit the city of Taza in North-Central Morocco, south of the Rif Mountains. The weaving techniques they used have been preserved as it is being passed down to the next generation of weavers. 

 Some rugs are fully covered in traditional patterns while others feature minimalist motifs against neutral colors which is why designers and rug collectors love them. The themes and patterns of these rugs usually tell the story of the weaver, most especially of fertility. The symbols would subtly represent the phases of womanhood such as birth, virginity, conception, marriage, birth pains, among others. On the other hand, the asymmetric patterns are said to have been put for a spiritual reason such as protection from evil spirits in their nomadic lifestyle. 

 The colors of the Moroccan rugs also range from neutral, monochromatic shades such as ivories, creams, grays, whites, soft browns, and black to warm, striking ones like bold reds, maroons, yellows, and orange.   

 These carpets, especially antique Moroccan rugs, are usually made of natural sheep wool and differ in thickness. It either comes as a heavy, thick pile or a light and portable flat-woven. This is partly because of its original use. A great quality Moroccan rug has a plush texture.

 

Why Choose Moroccan Rugs

 The designs and characteristics of the Moroccan tribal rug make it a valuable work of art. Apart from its incredible history, it exudes timelessness and versatility. Because of its simple geometric designs and neutral palette, it works well with most interior design themes. Whether you are going for a light, casual, and airy feel, or a vintage, rustic mood in a room, the Moroccan rug is perfect for completing an ensemble of modern decor. The soft material of the textile is also ideal to sit on during casual gatherings. Light flat-weave versions are also available that can be used as wall décor. Handwoven Moroccan rugs are among the best in quality of floor coverings and sure to last very long.


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