Lifestyle & Travel

Jan 1, 2015

Colorful and Traditional

Moroccan Berber Carpets is a selection of wonderful hand woven carpets, rugs and interiors from the Berber tribes around Morocco.

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The origin of tapestry in Morocco dates back to the night of times.  While once used as protection against the cold, it is now also considered as an integral part of Moroccan art.Moroccan rugs or Berber area rugs can be divided into two large categories, the urban rugs such as the ones from Rabat, and the rural rugs which are mainly from the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech. The art of making rugs is due to the creativity of craftsmen coming from many different regions of Morocco and the multiples dynasties that succeeded one another. Thus, every rug, even contemporary ones, carry a thousand-year-old tradition. Every region in Morocco manufactures rugs with specific local characteristics, such as colors, motifs, weaving techniques and material used.

The term carpet comes from Old French carpite, from Old Italian carpita, «carpire» meaning to pluck. The term «carpet» is often used interchangeably with the term «rug». Some define a carpet as stretching from wall to wall. Another definition treats rugs as of lower quality or of smaller size, with carpets quite often having finished ends. A third common definition is that a carpet is permanently fixed in place while a rug is simply laid out on the floor.

Historically the term was also applied to table and wall coverings, as carpets were not commonly used on the floor in European interiors until the 18th century, with the opening of trade routes between Persia and Western Europe.

Moroccan rugs are the weaves, carpets, and textiles that have been traditionally hand-woven in Morocco. Rugs have been woven by the indigenous people of Morocco since the Paleolithic Era. Traditionally, Moroccan rugs have been woven by tribal peoples for their utility rather than for decorative purposes. Twentieth-century Moroccan rugs are widely collected in the West, and are almost always woven by tribes people who do not seek nor possess formal artistic training.

Berber carpets are a modern style of carpet, distinguished by a loop pile construction type, and usually contain small flecks of dark color on lighter shades of background colors. They generally consist of a plain color mix with no pattern, and are relatively cheap and durable, and popular for areas with significantly heavy use such as offices. Berber carpets are also the traditional hand-woven carpets of the Berber people of North Africa, which use a distinct knot that gives a similar appearance to a modern Berber carpet, but are brightly colored with designs that are different from other oriental rugs.

Traditional Berber carpet

Handmade and usually homemade Berber carpets are still an active industry in many rural areas of Berber countries. Many Berber families earn their primary income from building-up carpets manually and selling them in local markets, merchants and tourists. Traditional Berber carpet differs from modern mass-produced Berber carpets usually found in industrialized markets. They often employ cultural designs and are typically made of natural materials

Modern Berber carpet

Today there are numerous types of modern Berber carpet made from a wide variety of materials,Nylon, Olefin fiber, and wool are the most frequently used materials, except Tunisian Berber carpets and rugs usually called "Mergoum" which still preserve a know how inherited from ancestral weaving methods. Tunisian authorities are still controlling every piece to guarantee quality and that 'Berber' spirit in designs, patterns and symbols knotted so only wool is permitted with a total ban of any synthetic material,then each rug or carpet is sealed with a red wax sign (of Tunisian handicrafts authorities).

In other countries Olefin is the most frequently used and most affordable material, and carpets with blends of the different materials are also available.

Berber carpet is highly durable and is often found in offices, schools, and other high traffic areas. It is stain resistant as well, and is generally more affordable than thicker plush carpets. It is recommended by most professionals that Moroccan Olefin Berber should be cleaned using a low-moisture or dry cleaning process. Traditional steam cleaning with high alkaline detergents can cause potential pH burns in the olefin. These appear as large yellow or brown splotches. Yellow or brown spots also may be tannin bleed from the sugars in natural fiber carpets that are drawn to the top by improper drying usually caused by over wetting. There are carpet chemicals that can remove most of this yellowing or browning but they are very expensive, and it would be better to not get the yellowing or browning. A better, but more difficult, method may be to dry the carpet from the bottom. This method would generally require lifting up some of the carpet to install a carpet fan under the carpet, and using hot air, not just room temperature air. Regrettably, many of these stains can be permanent if not corrected immediately by a professional carpet cleaner. As with all carpets, Berber should be cleaned every 6 to 12 months to prevent permanent wear patterns.

Moroccan rugs are known for their colorful patterns and geometric designs, and their history begins hundreds of years ago. The Berbers who lived in the country for centuries were an indigenous group known for their weaving skills. Moroccan-style carpets are still mainly produced by Berber tribes who continue to live in the High Atlas Mountains. Many tribes live like they have done for hundreds of years and still produce hand woven textiles according to ancient traditions.

Colorful Traditional Art

Traditionally each tribe has had its own style, with specific color combinations and designs that had a symbolic meaning to the members of the tribe. The diversity in the colors and motifs reflects the different groups of Berber people who have been making these graphic rugs. A typical Moroccan rug is a knotted and flat woven pile rug, and in every single one the design and the color combination is unique. These rugs are works of art and the patterns can also be found in traditional Berber art, including ceramic arts.

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