Various types of Moroccan rugs: in-depth guide to Moroccan carpets

Various types of Moroccan rugs: in-depth guide to Moroccan carpets

Various types of Moroccan rugs:
Thourough guide to Moroccan carpets

Moroccan rugs seems to conquer the chic and bohemian interiors of a growing number of people who have not all, one day, set foot on Moroccan soil. The Moroccan carpet is also often called Berber carpet. 

It is more poetic, when in addition we are told that it comes from the deep High Atlas, it makes our adventurous fiber vibrate.

Here we are barefooted in Sarouel on a Beni Ouarain languorously entwined by Lawrence of Arabia. But I digress; the object of this little post is to help you find yourself among the different types of Moroccan carpets.

Beni Ourain Moroccan rug

Pay honor to whom honor is due. Beni Ourain is undoubtedly the most emblematic of Berber carpets. He is the warmest, the sweetest and the one my cat prefers. 100% pure wool, you will usually find it predominantly white with fine black or brown geometric patterns.

Originally they actually come from the Atlas Mountains. Where the nights are cold enough for the sheep to give a soft, dense, first-muted wool. They are  woven by the Berber women of the wealthiest families having the opportunity to buy the large quantities of wool of first mowing, necessary for the making of each Beni Ouarain Moroccan carpet.

Today, due to tourism and development of Moroccan craftsmanship, we must not believe that all Beni Ouarains are made in the remote villages of the High Atlas. However, the production remains largely handcrafted, provided by those who have learned from their parents and inherited the traditional large looms. The artisan also dares to mix his own creativity with tradition and often offers rarer colors or original motifs.


Azilal Moroccan rug

Azilal rugs are pieces of art in which every rural woman in the Azilal region tells her story. The themes are all inspired from tribal life as birth, maternity, wedding and even farming.

In Asterix among the Berbers they say that it is the rug that drives crazy. It's probably far-fetched but I understand that some people are literally crazy. The Azilal manages to bring together the color of the Boucherouite and the first mowing wool of the Beni Ouarain.

The weaving technique different from that used for Beni Ouarains gives a hair less long but equally soft and comfortable which invites to lie there to read for hours and hours and hours... Well, if Lawrence of Arabia does not come to join you there!

boucherouite rug at

Boucherouite Moroccan rug

Some lower-income families could not afford the wool, but kept a large loom like a family treasure. Used tunics and any other unused fabric are then washed, cut and recycled as carpets. It is thus, says it, that the first Boucherouites appeared. They are also used when a family wants to sit down to prepare food or to lend an ear to the storyteller. If there are small children at home, this rug is perfect to have at home.

The women often follow freestyle to stitch these rugs with an asymmetrical pattern which adds an extravagant touch with a lot of vibrant and bright colors.

These colors and patterns of Moroccan Boucherouite rugs have, in my opinion, nothing to envy to Paul Klee or Gustave Klimt. Finally, personally I can feel the same emotion in the presence of some Boucherouites than the first time, as a teenager, I came across a Klimt work.


Kilim Moroccan rug

Moroccan Kilim rugs or Hanbel rugs are often referred to as Kilim Klim or Kelim (Turkish word), a name derived from Persian 'Gelim'. Kilim means a carpet without velvet as it is embroidered instead of being knotted.

These carpets symbolize the identity of the tribes weaving them, hence, their decoration is specific to each tribe. Kilim carpets are decorated with geometric figures, including triangles and diamonds, and are often less colorful but with more refined decoration.

They are still very different. Their particular weave makes them lighter and thinner. I find them particularly pleasant in summer in bright rooms or verandas. Again the reasons are very different. They make me think of the ocean and its waves as seen through the mists of a sweet dream.

These are woven rugs made of sheep wool. They recall the Berber history and legacy of Morocco and differ from the Turkish or Persian kilim by their patterns, their thickness and their weaving technique. If you want a very colorful carpet, light and easy to maintain, the kilim is the carpet that could suit you.

Haouz rug at

Haouz and Atlantic plains rug

The Haouz and Atlantic plaines region is located south of Casablanca, encompassing Marrakech, Chichaoua, Essaouira and Agadir. This vast plain brings together carpets of different Berber tribes. There are the Haouz carpets of Marrakech, the carpets of Oulad Bousbaa of Chichaoua and the coastal carpets including those of the tribe of Chiadma.

The Moroccan rugs of Chichaoua impress with their red madder.

The red dye madder is extracted from the roots of a perennial plant called "Garance of dyers".

This typical Chichaoua's carpet knotted carpet will enhance every interior decoration with its bright red.


Moroccan Berber rugs at

Hybrid Moroccan rug

The concept of ethnically pure carpets makes little sense, Zemmour, Beni Mguild, Zaer, Ait Youssi, etc. are not always easily discernible from each other, even when they were produced 60 or 70 years ago in conditions of irreproachable authenticity.

The growing success of the Berber rug and, perhaps, the continuation of the rural exodus seem to have resulted in the fact that traditions, hitherto quite separate from each other have melted together. Next to the classic Beni Ouarain with diamonds we see more original carpets.

The long woolen hairs and the weaving technique allow us to relate these carpets to the Beni Ouarain family, but the patterns or the colors are more original. Dots or abstract drawings in bright colors, even fluo are closer to what is expected to be found on an Azilal rug per instance.

One thing is for sure though, the quality of the wool of these various rugs available at is remarkable, whether it is short (approximately 1 cm) as with the Zemmour, the Aït Yacoub, the Aït Youssi, the Beni Sadden, or long like with the Zaïane, Beni M'guild or Beni Ouarain Carpets.

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