Handwoven rugs have always stood as a pillar in the Amazigh (Berber) tradition. While various Moroccan tribes hold different designs and schemes—The Beni Ouarain tribe, for example, is best known for its combination of thick textures and distinctive diamond patternings. Amazigh rugs can be found on everything, from traditional to more contemporary designs.
Berber Peoples Mastering the Art of Handweaving
Berber rugs are enchanted with sustainability. Whether it’s traditional or contemporary weaves, the Amazigh weavers in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco today approach their creation process in the same way that their ancestors did— with mutual admiration and respect for nature and the world that they live to prosper in. As a result, their rugs are naturally eco-friendly; as the rural community takes a cooperative approach toward using nothing but locally sourced materials, creating treasured trove, made-to-order rugs, and even recycling scraps or fabrics into brand new rugs.
Berber peoples have practiced the skill of handweaving for centuries. Pre-history and before the idea of rugs we all know today, they often adorned themselves with their own version of rugs, making them through a laborious process of patience, technic, and a whole lot of creativity. Le Corbusier is most credited with turning the heads of his fellow modernists to Amazigh weaving traditions. As a result, these cozy textiles, which were available in bulk and much simpler in design and composition, became favored all over the world.
Between Tradition and Modernization
Today, there is a new crop of Berber weavers who are now taking on the craft, which has been passed down through generations and completely modernizing it. Their works ultimately keep their culture’s traditions alive while proving that weavers can break free from their tribe’s respective signatures and create pieces that are just as trendy. It’s one way to stay connected to where they came from, and it is another to stay true to the timeless traditions of the craft.
How E-Commerce is Supporting the Craft of Handweaving?
The majority of Moroccan Berber weavers live in remote areas and for a long time had not had the resources, nor the technology to sell their rugs on a global scale. But that’s all changing now. With the rise of e-commerce and social media, it’s easier than ever to find authentic Amazigh-owned rugs. The Berber rug scene has grown and expanded rapidly. Now, one can find everything from authentic tribal handmade rugs—the through-line being that the women weavers continue to carry on a sense of sustainability and eco-mindedness while honoring their tribe’s unique customs and tradition.
For a lot of good reasons, there’s no better time to get to know the wonderful rugs of the Amazigh peoples than now. Rugs like Beni Ouarain, for instance, are fusing luxurious textures with traditional diamonds. Mrirt, Boujaad, and Boucherouitte on the other hand are offering seductive visuals of well-balanced palettes and motifs. Other rug tribes like Tazenakht are proving that traditional designs can still be contemporary.