Like those of neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia, Moroccan flat-weaves and pile rugs are the fruit of Berber tribes whose presence predates the Arab invasion of the seventh century and who continue to inhabit the Middle and High Atlas Mountains.
Berbers have been practicing the art of creating wool flat-weaves and pile rugs for centuries, and their original purpose was for domestic use as bedding, pillow covers, tent sidewalls and floor coverings.
Broadly characterized by their vibrant hues and dazzling geometric motifs, these tribal artifacts are sought after for their modernist aesthetic and appeal.
Berber flat-weaves, including those of the Zemmour tribes, feature strongly graphic lozenges, rectangles and stepped lines that have captivated artists including Eugene Delacroix, Henri Matisse, and Paul Klee. Frequently arranged in plainweave strips, these flatweaves sometimes feature knotted pile. Most renowned among Berber pile rugs are the brightly colored Moroccan High Atlas rugs, characterized by symmetrical compositions and often exhibiting a variety of geometric configurations with motifs including squares, oblongs, and diamonds.
These all-wool foundation rugs are coarsely hand-knotted to enhance softness and insulation. Similarly, the Middle Atlas Beni Ouarain tribes' Thick-pile rugs also featured abstract designs, but are woven from undyed ivory, brown and black wool. Other Middle Atlas pieces feature an asymmetrical format of transverse panels with variations on the diamond motif.
Moroccan rugs are enjoying a recent renewal of attention for their ability to blend well with contemporary Western interiors. While these rugs continue to be woven in Morocco, other countries of origin, namely Nepal and Turkey, are adeptly producing them in all sizes. Many of these new "Moroccan" rugs follow the colour and design styles of their traditional forbears whereas other feature only loosely inspired design elements in new colour ways to meet North American demand.
Tapis Rugs carries an impressive variety of Moroccan rugs. Vintage Beni Ourain, Azilal, and Boucherouite Rugs. Located in Toronto, Canada.