For some time now, many tales have been told through the use of symbols. Tribal life allows the mind to focus on what really matters. Repeated symbols are not unusual either, usually because there's a particular importance to them. When it comes to minimalist design, repetitive symbols are a focus on the vital.
These woven rugs make use of magic symbolism in their otherwise minimalist design. It is what gives them an appeal that's unique. Every single one has a desire from the weaver for the human spirit to have protection from negative energy. There is also a weaver's desire carried by the rug for the human body to have a shield from the elements. No matter how they're used (wall decor or on the floor), they are essentially works of art that double as talismans. Each Moroccan Berber rug has a different story to tell that is uniquely its own.
With the passage of time, many symbols have lost their meaning over time. Many weavers have passed certain designs and motifs to their grandchildren and children. However, commercialization has set in and many sources produce Berber-inspired rugs without knowing the meanings behind the symbols they learned to wave. Berber designs were deeply personal, even in instances that depicted tribal beliefs and traditions.
Keeping that in mind, interpretation must be done with caution. Especially since there is a long route to take in order to translate or understand certain designs. This involves gaining a deep understanding of various tribes' legends, songs, and cultures. Aside from rugs, Berbers also use symbolism in tattoos.
In Morocco, one way of storytelling is through Berber rugs. Each one is designed with the aforementioned weaver's desires: shelter from the elements for the human body, protection for the human spirit. Even the Berber's colors have a story to tell:
- Blue - Used to convey wisdom
- Green - Used to convey peace
- Red - Used to convey protection and strength
- Yellow - Used to convey eternity
Berber Rug Symbols
- Barley - This signifies fertility. It is typically a rectangle with a light and dark checkered pattern.
- Bird - This signifies good fortune and healing through carrying baraka (a divine power in their belief system). It is typically intersecting rectangles that create a similarity to a cross.
- Eye - This signifies a specific kind of protection, one against the evil eye. It is typically a diamond pattern that's concentric with either arrows at the edge or a cross in the center.
- Finger - This signifies protection. It is typically similar to a tic-tac-toe board or the pound symbol (also referred to as a "hashtag" symbol).
- Frog - This signifies fertility and magical rites. It is typically a more ornate design made with diamonds, from the head, tail, to the legs on either side.
There is a deep meaning to symbolism when it comes to Moroccan Berber rugs, which signifies storytelling. The arrangements and motifs also make a considerable difference. Each Berber rug is unique, but there are meanings behind some symbols. This includes barley (for fertility), bird (for good fortune and healing), and finger (for protection).
Looking to get an Atlas Berber rug? Reach out to Atlas Weavers today! We are a fair trade artisan project and a premier supplier of authentic Moroccan decorative rugs.