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January 29, 2020 2 min read

How are Moroccan Rugs Woven?

Berber carpets are most typically woven by one or more women: mother-daughter, neighbors, or in more modern times, collectives of women. They sit at ground level, with their hands at the same level. The design is not pre-planned, and women in fact are given full creative freedom to create a work of art that captures her experiences, vision, and creativity, which explains the asymmetric and unique designs seen always in the Berber carpets. The whimsy of the weaver is often quite moving.

The woman rolls the carpets as they go, and can see approximately the prior foot of what they have woven as they are working only, so it’s her mind’s eye that must capture the design and vision she had imagined. They don’t unroll the carpet, as they believe that this could disrupt the protective nature of their rug.

Over 90% of the Berber carpets employ the Turkish knot, which is symmetrical, but it’s the use of the Berber knot that distinguishes the rug as being from the Middle Atlas mountains.

 The pile knot is very commonly used in Morocco, and it’s when the weft (transverse threads on the loom) and warp (longitudinal fibers) are If less weft is left, there is more density in the rug, whereas if more weft is left, there is more texture. If the pile is left very long in the rug, the design may be somewhat hidden, and so over time, as the pile wears, the design will evolve and shift. There are many types of rugs that have the pile knot, such as the Beni Ourain, Azilal, and Boujad; however, the type of rug is a division that stems from their geographical location. For instance, Beni Ourain rugs are woven by the Beni Ourian tribe or those with lineage to that tribe.

 Flatweave rugs on the other hand are not knotted and have a continuous weave. Their patterns are developed by colors rather than a type of knot. Types of flatweave rugs include kilims, also known as hanbels.