Traditionally, Moroccan Berber carpets were made only by women to be used in their own homes, to decorate the floors and to serve as seat covers, bedspreads or blankets during the coldest months. The Moroccan Berber rugs are full of symbolism and often tell the story of the woman who created each piece. Each rug takes about 20-30 days to be woven by hand and the design is always completely original – no two rugs are ever the same.
Handicraft is still very important for Berber communities. Generally, while the men work in the mountains or on the farms, the women work in their huts, creating beautiful handmade ceramics or weaving carpets. All the finished products are then taken down to the big cities like Marrakech, where people auction their products to souk owners. The buyers then sell the carpets, ceramics and other pieces in their stores to other locals and tourists. This process provides income to Amazigh villages, and is often their main source of livelihood.
Moroccan carpets represent the most characteristic aspect of the country’s cultural heritage. The soul of the carpet seems to reflect the landscape of the Atlas Mountains. These Berber carpets are like books filled with signs and symbols. One discovers there a universe of thought based on a palette of exuberant colors. These women living in rural villages have appropriated their textile creations as a space of freedom where they have developed a personal creativity and a surprising artistic expression. The Berber carpet becomes essential, it is a link between past and present, between earth and sky. These magnificent carpets could be presented in different art museums.
The culture and traditions of each Berber community can be very different from one region to another. Thus, depending on the tribe, the Berber carpets may have different styles, colors and weaving techniques, or even belong to the same generic type. The origin of the Berber carpet can be found in the Atlas mountains of Morocco, the populations used different techniques from those used for oriental or Persian carpets.
The abstract and geometrical language of the Berber carpet comes from the origins of the body, the form and the functions of the human sexual organs. Based on the duality and relationship of man and woman, it became the expression of universal fertility including all nature. The Berber carpet is an artistic creation of the woman and reflects above all the phases of her life, her timeline and her sexual experience: as a virgin, a new bride, through marriage, pregnancy and childbirth.