Moroccan Rugs have been traded for time immemorial. In ancient times, merchant caravans would ply the Rug Road from Marrakesh to the Mediterranean, along the High and Middle Atlas Mountains, and the merchants would trade manufactured goods from the cities for crafted Moroccan Rugs from the Berber Tribes they passed. These rugs would then be sold on again in the city markets.
The Saharan Berbers also plied the desert caravan trains of the Sahara, heading west towards Egypt, Turkey and the Middle East. They would take with them their Flatweave Rugs, which became known as Kilim rugs by the name the Turks gave them.
A result of the colonial Arabization was a shared rug tradition with Islamic Africa and the Islamic middle east, and as such, Moroccan Rugs have a respected reputation among the middle eastern nations whom they were often traded. However, tensions between the Islamic Arab world and the European, Christian world meant that this rug sharing tradition remained, for a long time, an Arab "thing".
When the French occupied Morocco, they set up an outpost at Azilal, where they found the crumbling remains of the Ighrm, a fort which had watched over Azilal over the centuries, and a thriving Moroccan Rug trade.
The French people have always had an outward looking thirst for culture to supplement their own. Napoleon Bonaparte’s early conquest into Egypt was remembered not for the conquest – indeed the British defeated Bonaparte and retook Egypt after a few years – it was remembered for the vast collections and recordings of Egyptian architecture and culture. In the same way, when the French occupied Morocco they saw the culture not in big monolithic buildings and strange hieroglyphs as in Egypt, but in the majestic beauty of the staple Moroccan Rug. The fact that the rug could be rolled up and shipped back to France for the wider family to enjoy was a bonus, and so the influence of the Moroccan rug on the French Interior design culture was fast. Interior designers experimented with incorporating Moroccan Rugs into their homes, and soon a lively interior design revolution was taking place.
The Moroccan Rug was soon found centre stage in the living room, adding a dash of colour to an otherwise dull floor. Moroccan Rugs were found to be great accents or even focal rugs for a living space, creating a feel in the room that is unique and cozy. While it is true that there were some questionable combinations of colours and styles, it laid the foundations for the principals that a opposites attract: a colourful rug works well in a neutral space and a neutral Moroccan Rug goes well in a colourful space.
Also, the tradition of the humble picnic began through the use of Moroccan Rugs outdoors – used to provide a clean covering for people to sit on while enjoying the open space.
Moroccan Rugs were used as alternatives to wall paintings and photographs, with well designed and colourful rugs being hung on the walls to show their true beauty. Moroccan Rugs are also traditionally used as partitions to divide spaces and add privacy to an otherwise open space. In an adaptation of this tradition, it was known for 4-poster beds to be adorned with Moroccan Rugs.
The first Moroccan Rugs to be sent back to France were of a smaller size – similar to a blanket, as this was the size Berbers preferred and was thus available. During this time, the Moroccan Rug also doubled up as a warm, colourful blanket during the colder winter months, but also as a colourful throw to hide any mess of creased sheets underneath.
Moroccan rugs offer style and history, making them such an incredible design asset in any space. If you are looking for an amazing selection of rugs, you will find so many options by visiting Benisouk. Benisouk is a leading acquiescor of Beautiful and Authentic Moroccan Rugs from their makers. We travel the old rug road to buy Authentic Moroccan Rugs from Berber Tribes directly, giving them access to the manufactured goods from the city in exchange for their beautiful craft work, honouring this age old tradition in the modern, online era.