History & Tradition

Crafting Tradition: The Art of Moroccan Berber Rug Making

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The Moroccan Berber rug-making process is a fascinating blend of tradition, creativity, and skill. Here’s a detailed overview of how these exquisite rugs are made:

  • Shearing Sheep and Buying Woolen Fleeces: Men primarily handle this step, shearing the sheep and collecting the woolen fleeces. It takes between 50 to 100 sheep to gather enough wool for a standard-sized rug.
  • Washing and Preparing the Wool Fleeces: The raw wool fleeces are washed, sifted, and soaked to remove impurities like twigs. The wool is then beaten with a stick, washed again in the river, and dried in the sun until it’s ready for use.
  • Carding: Wool is cut, washed, and combed using wooden planks called “imchden” to untangle and orient the wool fibers in one direction, making spinning easier.
  • Spinning: The carded wool is spun using a drop spindle, a tapered wooden tool. The fleece is attached to a hook on top of the spindle and spun to create tension, forming a solid thread. This process continues until all the fleece is transformed into yarn.
  • Washing the Spun Wool and Storing the Yarn: The spun yarn is washed again, dried in the sun, and stored until it’s ready to be used on the loom.
  • Weaving Begins: The weaving process begins on a vertical loom. Different colors of yarn are hung on top of the loom depending on the rug’s design. The weaver passes the yarn between two tablecloths using a knife with a hook, cuts it, and compacts the knots down firmly using a heavy comb. This process continues row after row until the rug is complete.
  • Washing and Drying the Carpet: Once the weaving is finished, the rug is washed and dried in the sun. It’s then taken to local markets by men for sale, where each family showcases their unique handmade Berber rugs.

Through this meticulous process, Moroccan Berber rugs are created, each telling a story of tradition, creativity, and craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations.


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