Moroccan rugs range from highly graphic to monochrome patterned with bright, saturated shadows and natural and muted tones. Moroccan tribal women have initially started these rugs due to the abundance of sheep wool available to them. Women kept busy by weaving rugs while their men were working on fields. These rugs did not only serve as coverings for their floors but could also be used as mattresses, seating, and blanket in the winter months.

These rugs were also given as wedding gifts to family members. Each woman wove her life’s story into the rugs; therefore, most Moroccan rugs are filled with exciting stories and symbolize many events in the weaver’s life and family. They vary significantly in pattern depending on the locale where they are made.

The most famous Moroccan rug patterns are Azilal, Beni Mguild, Beni Qurain, Boucherouite, Kilim, and Tuareg mats. These all have unique patterns, which will be examined shortly.

Weaving method of vintage rugs

The looms used by the Berber tribeswomen in the rural areas of Morocco for their rug craft are usually very crude and basic; it is no more than wood pieces tied together with a string, cotton, or wool wrapped around it to be used as warp for the rug.

The weaving space is usually limited to a corner of the loom, with the loom itself is relatively small, leaving the woman with the view of the immediate part of the rug she is working on, and no other part can be viewed. The visible part is approximately 30cm of the carpet, which is gradually rolled around the lower beam to disappear from sight and allow the woman’s room to begin a new session.

She is not allowed to look back on the work she has done until it has been finished due to superstitious beliefs, so she just has to depend on her memory and concept to perfect the design while working. That helped the Berber women to develop creativity as they would sometimes forget the exact pattern they were working on and have to start different designs to finish the piece. Based on these reasons, all their rugs have personalities and unique individualities.

Measurement of the length and width is done using the women’s hand span when weaving; hence when the work is done, the rugs have free forms with various shapes, motifs, and patterns, which are sometimes abstract. The sides of the rugs are not perfectly equal, as would be the case if sophisticated looms and weaving methods were used. The freeform vintage rugs are a charming feature of the carpets and a sign of their authenticity and value.

Understanding Moroccan Vintage Rugs

Every rug created by a Berber woman was inspired partly by tradition passed down to her by her older women. It was like a central message or piece, important to her family. It included traditional tribal colours and motifs and possibly objects such as a teapot or the family animal representation.

However, what gives the rug’s originality are the events the woman tries to represent on a particular carpet, such as birth, death, marriage, symbols of fertility and nature, colours that are based on her present emotions and thoughts. The integration of these elements in creating a masterpiece is dependent on the woman’s spontaneity and the vividness of her imagination. Therefore, apart from free forms, spontaneity and originality are often another trademark characteristic of vintage rugs.

The rugs may be made to be very thick with a hefty pile for snowy and cold weathers, where they are used as over dresses and blankets useful for the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. The flat and light rugs are suitable for arid desert climates where they are used as saddle blankets, bed coverings, and sleeping mats by the nomadic Moroccans.

Popular Moroccan Weaving Regions

Fes, the capital of Morocco, is perhaps the most popular city for the weaving of vintage carpets. Rabat’s coastal capital is very famous for its rugs, which are woven with floral and diamond-shaped elements.

Others include the Beni Qurain people from the Rif Mountains near Taza, Azilal, Beni Mguild, Boucherouite, Kilim, and Tuareg, famous for their exceptional and intricate designs.

Unique Characteristics of Various Vintage Tribal Rugs

Depending on the locale the rugs are made, various rugs come with designs, colours, and patterns unique to the tribes. Although each family within a tribe will have a different basis for their rug making, and the inspiration may be different, their tribe identity will still have to be foremost as a stamp on their rugs. These serve as trademarks for those tribes giving them originality, and uniqueness and are influenced by the quality of wool produced by sheep and farming activities. Some tribes with unique rug weaving patterns are:

Ait Ouaouzguite

This tribe is known principally for the high-quality silky wool obtained from their sheep and the weaving patterns adopted by their women. The end product is full of the tribal “lozenge” patterns in striking and intriguing colors, a culmination of natural dyes made from surrounding plants extracted and mastered for use over the years gone by. Recently though, chemicals are also used and the rugs produced are quality artworks having a lovely sheen across the rug’s surface in a particular light. These rugs are also called Taznakht after the town’s name, which is the center of this carpet producing industry.

Ait BouIchaouen

The Ait BouIchaouen tribe is a nomadic Moroccan tribe whose weaving art was only discovered 25 years ago. Their work is unique for the vivid tales it tells and their high imaginative power. The rugs produced often have very thick piles, which are necessary to provide warmth that is a priority as they live on high plateaus. The designs were based on the women’s daily activities and events they encountered, and objects from their environment. Some representations from their carpets include tents, mountains, animals, teapots, and chicken footprints.

Beni Ouarain

This tribe still produces its rugs to this day; these rugs are very common and easily identifiable due to their unique ivory colouring that is almost generally reserved for the Beni Ouarain tribe. The rugs usually have a distinctive but straightforward diamond pattern all the way along with them. They are medium to thick piled, and it may not be easy to tell if a Beni Ouarain is newly made or genuinely vintage.


Traditional Boujad rugs for sale are deep pink and bear traditional tribal symbols but are a little different from a second rug type produced less formal and more creative and do not carry the conventional lozenges of the vintage rugs. They may be based loosely on the traditional patterns but with wide variance in size, colour, and with the integration of exuberant patterns that set them apart from the original creations.

Generally, Moroccan rugs are beautiful and distinct, unique in the stories they each tell, and would be pretty as centerpieces on the floors of your rooms, walls, or even dining tables and blankets for beds and are therefore easily collectible and highly desirable.