Buying a Boujad Rug is like becoming a member of the Boujad Berber Community. All of these rugs have been woven using the hands of a Berber craftswoman, using traditional methods passed down through the generations. These rugs represent a living history – if you observe how Berbers go about their lives today you will also see how Berbers lived their lives 100 years ago, or 200 hundred or 500. The Berber communities around Boujad have produced and traded rugs for time immemorial, while living a nomadic lifestyle, roaming the Atlas Mountains with their herds of sheep or goats, engaged in a constant struggle to survive. Today, they still roam the mountains with their herds, shearing the sheep to produce the wool for the rugs, using native plants to make the dye and then crafting these raw ingredients into a classical Boujad Rug using the same techniques their mothers and grandmothers used.
While Berbers do have their fame in the history books – notably their involvement with the Great Berber Revolt of medieval times which arguably was the beginning of Morocco, these have always been recorded by others. Berber culture is a pictoral culture primarily, and these are shown through their rugs. In a landscape where the fight for survival is never far from the mind, their artwork focuses on what they wish for most to survive.
Fertility – the bigger one’s family, the stronger it is. There is strength in numbers. In Berber symology, the chevron represents open legs, the lozenge, both closed and with extended sides is of the womb matrix, while the x-shape represents the body with arms and legs spread out, where the woman is “open”, ready to conceive.
Divine protection. Berbers accept there is much they don’t know and much they cannot control. They pray that the conditions beyond their control are favourable and that misfortune goes to another place. Nomadic Berbers will wear good luck charms to ward away evil spirits and misfortune, and likewise their rugs are adorned with the same charms to protect their settlements or even themselves while they sleep.
The Berbers are a fierce people, able to stand strong in inhospitable wildernesses. Yet, they need all the luck they can get to survive and prosper, and their rugs are just one of these sources of comfort and luck. Good luck and warm sentiments are woven into the rug to make a tapestry that spends its life sending out its message to the divine and those around and by doing so, invites good luck, prosperity, fertility and more into the lives of those around. The diamond shaped all-seeing eye of providence is a common symbol, which watches out for evil spirits. The jagged designs seen around the edges or on a cross on the inside of the diamond is to disperse and deflect evil in all other directions.
Many see good luck charms as a psychological construct in the mind of the holder and not transferable, and in some ways almost secret. The Berber rug is not like this. While it is primarily made for a practical purpose – to keep a Berber or their guests warm and comfortable, it also communicates the deepest desires of the maker or the owner to the world, and thus, also constantly reminds them of their core values and desires. A deep yearning for something often results in a subconscious state where one is always looking for ways to achieve and satisfy their desires, and in that mindset, someone often finds a way to get what they want. It is in this way that the good luck charms imbued into the rug bear fruition, and are thus a very real and tangible charm.
In Berber symbology the checkerboard is associated with dizzy spells and celestial experiences – things we generally beyond our perception so we cannot understand. It is recognition of a divine being, and is showing great respect by calling out to it and hoping for favour in return.
The charms of the rugs pass onto the new owners. In the same way a much loved blanket is just as warm and comfy to the next person, inspiring the same inner warmth, so to does the Boujad Rug. The rug will continue sending its message out to the universe to invite in good luck, prosperity and health while inspiring you to achieve your goals.
So, when you buy a Boujad Rug, you are buying an accessory to your identity as well as a soft, warm and comfy covering. You are saying “this is what I want and value” and you are sending a message out to the universe to invite that in. It might just be that you want a comfortable, hospitable home for you and your guests, and giving the rug your pride of place will invite a feeling of warmth and cosiness to the room. You might see a deeper meaning in the rug, and that too will be invited into your lives.
At Benisouk, we can help you find the perfect rug to match your desired message or charm. We trade our rugs with the Berber tribes so they can get essentials to help make their lives easier, like cooking stoves or other manufactured goods. We understand the Berber culture, because we are also Berber, and that makes us uniquely qualified to sell Boujad rugs in they way they are supposed to be, with all the love and attention they deserve.