It was an eleven-day expedition across Morocco. In the high mountains, we discovered the silken, milky-white Beni Ouarain. In the south, the poppy-red flat weaves said to be hurling towards extinction. The central mountains introduced us to the colorful Azilal while the Sahara showed off her more understated carpets, like those of the nomadic Tuareg people. Over those two weeks, with our brows furrowed, we studied, haggled and made lifelong friends in the various market towns…
This is not a mechanized world but one of ancient movements and time honored traditions — no two rugs are the same, nor were they produced commercially until very recently. They’re family heirlooms. They serve as textiles and wall hangings. They dress camel saddles and ornament brides on their wedding day. Amazingly, many symbols are memorized, never drawn out but studied and learned like the back of ones hand. An average of some 60 days of work will go into crafting a single rug — at times using over 20 pounds of raw wool. After all that work a select few have managed to make their way to the showroom of Coveted Home. Click here to see our collection, a few more will be added to the site next week.
On Moroccan Rugs
Beni Ouarain: Morocco’s darling export. Beni Ouarain are a large tribe in the north. This is the iconic rug style we’re seeing exported right now. The sheep are live shorn and the pile built thick. Traditionally they’re used as blankets and shawls. We only brought one traditional Beni back with us, and its a beaut.
Azilal: Also derived from high altitude tribes, Azilal rugs are more colorful than their cousin, the Beni Ouarain. Made from virgin wool and hand-loomed by women with delicate hands. The colors are derived from poppies, saffron and the coveted Moroccan indigo.
Above: a beautiful azilal that can be found in our shop.
Boucherouite: Recycled textiles, even old rugs, t-shirts, scarves, you name it, they all make their way into this shaggy eco-rug. They’re fun, informal and serve many purposes. This time, no Boucherouite rugs made it back to the shop.
A Boucherouite hangs on the far left
Kilim: This is a very generic, but useful term for the flat weaves made by many tribes in Morocco — the most popular being Tiflet, Zemmour, and Zaiane. These come from the tribes of the plains where the climate is mild and the needs are more decorative. Expect a rich variety of color and a heavy use of symbology — chevrons, lozenges are symbol of the feminine nature and of protection. Stars and triangles represent he cosmos and eternity. Note the heavy borders and highly stylized shape.
Chichaoua: Moving further from the colorful mountains and deeper into the rich Berber culture you begin to see rugs done in a more simplistic style, that is backgrounds without a great deal of ornamentation and the symbols that are incorporated have strong family ties –think of these as signatures.
Beginning to see a pattern here? Rugs hanging on walls are quite common in Morocco! The blue, second runner from the left, is a great example of a Chichaoua rug. They are not uploaded to the site yet, but we do have 3 in this style in the shop.
And there we have it. A collection of Moroccan rugs, their tribes, styles and vibes. And to think, we’ve only scratched the surface. But with these notes, the ambiguous world of handmade carpets has opened itself and we’re no longer strangers. As always, let us help you design your life.