Hand-knotted carpets - Morocco

Hand-knotted carpets - Morocco


Morocco is one of the three Maghreb countries and is located in northern Africa. It is separated from Europe by the Strait of Gibraltar. Morocco is relatively small in area for the African continent and has about 30 million inhabitants, 20% of whom are Arabs and 80% Berbers. The main economic pillars are agriculture and mining. Traditional handicrafts play in the industrial sector, e.g. carpet manufacturing continues to play an important role.

The textile culture in the Maghreb has a long tradition, which, however, is not always easy to understand because the materials are subject to heavy wear. Arabic and Turkish influences, as well as influences from Black Africa, have influenced Berber culture over the centuries. The oldest surviving Berber carpets are around 200 years old. The carpets from Morocco became known in Europe in particular through the French protectorate in the 20th century and became part of international trade. Manufactories were now founded and the Berber women traditionally had to adapt to the mass production of modern economies in Western Europe.

The Berber carpet is traditionally made by the Berber women in knotwork. The Berbers used to live in tents. There the carpet served as a sleeping pad, and the camel sack was also partially knotted. All belongings were stowed in this. Everyday commodities were completely adapted to natural resources, because wool was always abundant. On the contrary to wood, from which one could have made cupboards or beds. In addition, these would not have been as easy to transport as the carpets.

Berber carpets are little patterned wool rugs. The knotting technique itself is simple. Significant differences can be found much more in the pile thread. First of all, a distinction is made between so-called simple, double and triple threads, which indicate whether only 1, 2 or even 3 pile threads are tied in each case. There is also the so-called "torsadé" knotting yarn, which consists of two twisted yarns and gives the pile a grainy appearance.

Hand-knotted carpets - Morocco - Carpet Lexicon

Where the term Berber comes from is controversial. However, it is probably derived from the term barbarian, Latin "barbari", which referred to all peoples who did not speak Latin or Greek.