The different origins of Berber rugs – Yassini gallery

The different origins of Berber rugs

The weaving of Amazigh rugs dates back a long time. This is an important specificity of the Amazigh culture and they are handmade by Berber women. Since the dawn of time, their symbols and symbolism have been steeped in the history of the Berbers and their legends.

The carpet that Berber women wove by hand bore the name of their own tribe. They are woven with virgin wool coming straight from their cattle. Initially, women wove these rugs to make mattresses or blankets in remote areas where the cold is fierce. The carpet is therefore above all a means to warm up and also the supreme expression of the creativity of Berber women.

However, there are different types of Amazigh rugs, each from a different tribe.

The best known of all is the Beni Ouarain. He comes from the Middle Atlas region. Originally, Beni Ouarain rugs came from the remote Atlas mountains. The Beni Ouarain tribe can be found east of the city of Fez and south of Taza in Morocco. In these regions, sheep provide soft and dense wool. Beni Ouarain rugs are woven by Berber women from the wealthiest families who buy large quantities of pure wool essential to the making of the Moroccan Beni Ouarain rug.

There are also the Beni M’Guild rugs, a tribe that extends from the valley of the upper Moulouya to the plateaus south of Meknes. The design and color of Beni M’Guild rugs remain unpredictable. The geometric shapes are varied and the colors and tints are natural. The design is distinguished by bold patterns and simple, and sometimes irregular geometric patterns that cross the Berber carpet against a background in shades of orange, red, pink and magenta, and sometimes even indigo.

Another rug that is both the most beautiful and eccentric at the same time: Le Boucharouit, a Berber Harlequin rug! With its extravagant touch, the Noucharouit rug fascinates with its orderly disorder. Some low-income families could not afford to buy wool, but kept a large loom as a family treasure. Used tunics and any other unused fabric are then washed, cut and recycled into rugs. This is how the first Boucherouites appeared.

The Moroccan Azilal carpet is also one of the Amazigh carpets that we can only mention given its importance and splendor.

It is above all a work of art or a giant ornament for the walls. Each rural woman in the Azilal region tells her story through him. The topics covered are most often birth, motherhood, marriage, oral tradition and even agriculture.

The Azilal has in most cases the colors of the Boucherouite and the first shearing wool of the Beni Ouarain. The weaving technique different from that used for the Beni Ouarain gives a shorter hair but just as soft and comfortable.

Finally, let's not forget the Akhnif rug, woven and hand-knotted by the women of Khenifra.

These are rugs woven by Berber women in rural areas. The weaving is carried out on a vertical loom, hence this particularity: there are only fringes on one side. Each tribe has its own unique motives and the skill has been carefully passed down from mother to daughter for generations.

Around Khenifra, this delicate embroidery work carried out on plain woven wool backgrounds bears the name "akhnif", which originally referred to hooded shepherd's cloaks in brown-black raw wool, enlivened with embroidered patterns and recognizable by the huge orange "eye" that adorned the lower back.