Berber rugs originated in the Atlas mountains and the plains around Marrakech but their roots are said to date back to the Bronze age. These handcrafted treasures carry an ancestral lineage filled with symbolism that share astonishing similarities with cave art in Europe and much to my surprise with Andean textile art as well.
Tribal art from parts of the Sacred Valley and the city of Cusco in Peru display a deeply embedded symbolic nature that bares an immense resemblance to Berber primitive patterns seen in textiles and wood carvings from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
These "soul connections" that defy the laws of time and geography could possibly be explained as the physical manifestation of the unifying threads of Our Collective Consciousness. Maybe in a world where outer distractions were nonexistent and humans communicated with trees, animals and rivers; it was easier to connect with a higher form of being that was ironically teaching the same lesson through time.
The unmatched talent and devotion to the traditions behind handmade Moroccan carpets have been carried by Berber women as they have essentially established a well-kept plan to produce these handcrafted treasures and transfer that knowledge to the younger generations.
Women sit at their looms in their spare time and make these Berber rugs one knot at a time; depending on the size of the rug and how much free time they have on any given day, the weaving process can take a minimum of 10 weeks and up to several months to be completed. Because Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs were initially used as mattresses and blankets, they are precious possessions and women take great pride in making them. It is their work of art, their free-spirited voice that opens a window for their creative talents to reach the outside world.
The Berber pastoral communities created a specific knot called the Berber knot, easily spotted and recognized, it should also be noted that unlike oriental rugs, Moroccan rugs are never weaved on a pre-existing design but mostly according to the wishes of the women who make them, it is an expression of their raw emotions coming to life in the most spontaneous of ways, and resonating with rug lovers all over the world.
The lines depicted in Berber carpets evoke symbols like: The trellis, the diamond, the cross, the X shape.. each elicit in their own way: femininity, mating and procreation. In parallel, the zigzag pattern or fish bone lines usually found on the outer edges of the rug, refer to the phallic symbolism of the snake skeleton which has been long-believed to shield from the evil eye and provide healing and protection to everyone in the household.
The Moroccan Berber rug has long been underestimated and copied without any consideration by foreign industries. It was not until the mid 1900s that several artists took a genuine interest in its exceptional designs and gave it some of its value back.
Architects and artists like Henri Matisse, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright gravitated towards Moroccan Berber rugs and introduced them to their interiors which gave them their 20th century debut. Much like the phoenix that rises from the ashes, the Beni Ourain rug is the embodiment of immense presence and perseverance, a lesson of strenght and humility carried by centuries of undisturbed visions; they're artisanal and timeless flooring options that clearly satisfy all tastes.