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Moroccan rugs from central Middle Atlas

Text and Photography by José Pérez. All Rights reserved

The tribes from Central middle Atlas region has a long weaving tradition. These tribes love the weaving art, they have woven an assorted production of weaves since inmemorial times. Very delicated flatwovens, pile rugs with geometrical patterns, beautiful pillows, prestigious saddle rugs and ceremonial capes are between the most common weaves woven in these mountains.


This region has a rich nature, being the most destacable the Cedar Forest, it is a fascinating place with a mountain landscape with some of the most pure tribal traditions of the country, there, it is still possible find families living in the traditional black tents, with almost the same style of life than its ancestors have followed for centuries.


The materials used to weave these tribal moroccan rugs and textiles were of high quality. The wool is from Azrou breed, a local sheep that produce great fleeces of long staple filaments and a off-white color, also are common brown and grey fleeces that are used so in warps like the wefts of the flatwovens. The dyes were collected in a great percentage from the nature until middle 2oth century, and in the early pieces the palette of colors was wonderfully composed and those dyes were obtained from natural sources exclusively. The patterns are geometric, with a very small quantity of figurative designs, but those geometric designs are between the most complex from all north Africa rugs. The looms used for these berber tribes were traditional looms with wood structures, the same than used for their ancestors since old times.  In this region is rare to find weaves with over 1,80m wide, because these tribes are truly semi nomads, they are between the very few groups that in true follow a nomad culture to feet to their flocks, with different seasonal locations in summer and in winter.


Two great rivers delimit the region, the Oum er Ribia in the North West and the Mouloya in the South, these rivers are between the more important of the country, they have a great cultural meaning inside the Berber comunity. This mountain range, the middle Atlas, has several high plains with some of the most old volcano and lakes of Morocco, in these plains graze medium size flocks of sheep, between 100 - 300 animals, the majority are own by berber families althought, in the South of the region, close to the Mouloya river there are flocks of over 1000 sheep, 


Bellow are displayed several carpets like archetypes examples from each tribe. The data from the locations is the more accurate possible, in some examples, the geographical location and tribal groups are exact, in others examples, it is based on the experience obtained over 19 years of field work by Jose Perez researching and collecting rugs and textiles in the Moroccan mountains.


   

Long pile red Moroccan rug from Beni Mguild tribe of central middle Atlas from Morocco

BENI MGUILD TRIBE ( BAKERIT group )

Early Ait Youssi Moroccan rug with very rare pattern of central middle Atlas from Morocco-BU IBLAN

AIT YOUSSI TRIBE ( AIT KERMOUS )

Rare Moroccan rug from Ouioune region with a textured design drawn in two levelscarpet from

AIT BOUNZÔ TRIBE ( OUIOUNE region )

Beni Mtir Moroccan rug. An archetype example with an early design

BENI MTIR ( EL HAJEB )

Moroccan rug from Beni Mguild tribe with superb natural dyes

BENI MGUILD TRIBE ( BOUMIA group )

Moroccan rug from Beni Mguild tribe, a very early example with natural dyes

BENI MGUILD TRIBE ( IFRANE region )

Extremely rare red Ait Sergrouchen Moroccan rug with a geometrical composition

AIT SERGROUCHEN TRIBE ( Northen group )

Unique late 19th century Moroccan rug from Ait Arfa tribe

AIT ARFA ( TIMAHADITE area )