...a blog that talks about anything and everything!

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The Special Beauty of Berber Rugs


posted by Forsythea Nelms on , ,

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The Berber have been a part of Moroccan history from the beginning. They existed before the Arab people largely associated with North Africa today. There's evidence to suggest that they're descendants of prehistoric North African tribes. Omnipresent in cities such as Marrakech, Fez and villages along the Algerian border today, the Berber can also still be found in traditional villages across the High Atlas Mountains. Their talent at creating beautiful things from natural materials is one of the first things that visitors to Morocco notice. Because of their one of a kind distinctiveness, Berber carpet attracts buyers from around the world. Some are most responsive to their weight and texture. Others admire the handmade energy that radiates from the ancient approach with which they're woven. Anyone who has fallen under the spell of one would agree that there's something about Berber rugs that's mesmerizing.

 Berber carpets are made of a variety of materials that include sheep wool, cotton and camel hair. It's increasingly common for them to contain synthetic materials such as nylon. The patterns on them are typically quite simple. They're often rough to the touch. You could say that they're the opposite of Oriental rugs. While much of North African architecture has a majestic Islamic feel to it, Berber carpet is shockingly simple in terms of the materials used to make it. The same could be said of its minimalist and abstract patterns, which is why it stands out. Berber carpet is loud in its simplicity. Few can overlook the presence of one on a floor or pinned to a wall in a room.

 Women tend to be carpet weavers. They tend to follow a Berber tradition of mothers training young daughters to create rugs on simple looms. Berber rugs have everyday functions. They provide warmth in the winter, for example. The making of them is also a rite or ritual that defines Berber culture.

 There are a number of different Berber tribes. Someone knowledgeable about Moroccan carpet weaving culture can tell what region of the Middle Atlas a rug was made simply looking at its patterns or recognizing the way with which it was embroidered. Some designs and styles are now obsolete and no longer being made, which is why vintage Berber rugs are such high-value keepsakes.

 Berber rugs being produced today are commonly dyed with synthetically derived colors. Rugs made from traditional sources such as plant roots, wild berries and even the shells of certain insects have a much more vivid appearance. In fact, many prefer to own naturally dyed carpet because the colors grow more beautiful over time. Of course, the techniques used to dye Berber rugs are often guarded by the individual tribes who create them. The technique of dyeing a Berber rug is a rigorous art form in and of itself that's not at all something simple to learn and duplicate, which is just another example of the magic that goes into the production and design process of these consistently sought after rugs.

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