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  • A Brief History of the Traditional Berber Carpet

A Brief History of the Traditional Berber Carpet

Berber people have inhabited Morocco for centuries, and their culture and heritage are still alive today. Berber carpets, also known as Berber rugs, are handmade in Morocco by Berber women. These carpets are unique in their design, with each pattern and color having a special meaning. These art pieces are a way to preserve their culture and history and will remain a central part of their identity.


Patterns of Representation

The Berber carpet is a type of rug that originated in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It is distinct from Oriental and Persian carpets, crafted using different techniques.

The patterns of the Berber carpet are strongly reminiscent of the signs and figures found in cave art and other artifacts from early human cultures. By examining these patterns, we can find compelling links to the Palaeolithic period in Europe, the Neolithic period in the Orient, and the Mediterranean region. This suggests that the Berber carpet is the last remnant of the ancient world, a tangible connection to the distant past.

The Berber carpet symbolizes the relationship between men and women, expressed through abstract and geometric shapes. It is an artistic expression of the phases of a woman's life, her sexuality, and her fertility. It was created by Berber women in Morocco in the 12th and 13th centuries and is characterized by its beauty in its carpets, wall carpets, and wall hangings. The Berber carpet represents the essence of life, from virginity to marriage, pregnancy, and delivery.

Cultural Gift Crossing the Sea

During the Middle Ages, sumptuous fabrics and carpets were used as diplomatic gifts to foreign Embassies, often carried on the backs of camels. In Morocco, the word gtifa describes wool carpets often knitted in high-altitude regions such as Marmoucha or AitOuaouzguite.

In the 16th century, Jean Leon L'Africain (Al-HasanibnMuhammed) noted that carpets were commonplace wedding gifts in Fez. These carpets were sold in auctions in the city and exported to African countries. The carpets were admired for their delicacy, showcased in the grand cupolas of the local mosques. The oldest surviving Moroccan carpet dates back to the 18th century, the Chiadma.

The Moroccan carpet was a popular item during the 19th century, often exported to Europe. During the universal exhibitions of 1867, 1878, and 1889, they were quite common in France. During this period, carpet weaving was a major industry in most cities of Morocco. As a result, the Moroccan carpet was a much sought-after gift.

Carpet of Tribes

The Berber carpet, or carpet of tribes, represents the culture and history of a rural community. It is crafted by families living off the land for generations, using their traditional methods of farming and agriculture. It is an artistic expression of their culture, displaying stories, poems, drawings, and colors passed down from generation to generation. It is a unique and beautiful item that is a testament to these ancient peoples' knowledge and creativity.

The carpets from Berber regions are considered the highest quality due to the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into making them. The patterns used in these carpets are symbolic of the culture and history of the tribes that make them, with stories of cohabitation and understanding between different faiths, cultures, and civilizations. This skill is passed down through generations, from mother to daughter, to ensure that the weaving tradition is kept alive.


The traditional Berber carpet has a long and rich history. Its unique designs and colors make it a timeless piece of art that is beloved worldwide. It is a symbol of the Berber culture, and its intricate patterns and colors have been used for centuries to create beautiful pieces of art that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The traditional Berber carpet is a testament to the skill of the Berber people and their commitment to preserving their culture through the generations.

Atlas Weavers is a fair trade artisan project and a premier authentic Moroccan decorative rugs supplier. We are your primary source of Azilal carpets, Moroccan rugs, and Beni Ourain, sourced from the High Atlas Mountains and shipped worldwide. If you’re looking for authentic Moroccan Berber rugs to adorn your living space, we’ve got you covered! Browse through our collection today!