What are the different types Moroccan rugs?
Our guide to the different styles of rugs, weaving and designs originating from the various regions and tribes across Morocco.
Adding vintage Moroccan rugs to a home adds an instant layer of warmth and character that you just can't get with newly made rugs.
Characterised by their hand spun natural wool, beautiful earthy colour pallets of natural plant and vegetable dyes, and the uniquely Moroccan handwoven design work full of Berber symbology.
Owning one of these beautiful pieces of history is both a privilege and a joy.
The Nouvelle Nomad rug collection is focused on curating unique and authentic vintage pieces. Mostly aged between 30 and 80 years old, many of these older style rugs are no longer made in the traditional styles and methods, making the true vintage pieces both collectable and valuable.
Unfortunately the more well known Moroccan rug styles are increasingly copied by commercial rug brands and retailers - the names of the tribes and regions often incorrectly used and appropriated on mass produced machine made pieces and cheaper knock off versions.
So if you do want to get to know how to spot the real deal vintage pieces, here's our quick A - Z guide to the different Moroccan rug styles.
From the mountainous Azilal region of the High Atlas Mountains. These artistic rugs are often smaller and thinner of the Moroccan styles, making them versatile and easy to move around the home. They also make a beautiful artistic wall hanging.
Finely spun and handknotted 100% wool from the region is often whispy and soft on the surface. Whimsical and bold designs featuring large diamonds, imperfectly repeating patterns and Berber symbols telling stories and family tales.
Older rugs dating 1970s and earlier are highly collectable - and will usually feature a natural undyed sheeps wool base with designs in natural earthy colour pallets.
The more recent Azilal rugs much brighter and colourful.
The ultimate in sustainable homewares - also known as Moroccan rag rugs, boucherouite textiles have been hand-knotted by Berber women from regions all over Morocco from upcycled fabrics, cottons and left over yarns.
Originally made for various uses around the home - for a comfortable floor or bed covering, seating areas for a family meal, or as colourful wall decoration. These functional pieces of art are some of the most versatile, creative and brightly coloured of the Moroccan rug styles.
Many of the older style boucherouite pieces from the 1970s and earlier are considered collectors items with bold and creative design work. These pieces are made from naturally dyed cottons, fabrics and other natural materials.
Newer aged pieces from the last few decades you'll also find synthetics and polyesters woven through the shaggy and textured surface, knotted onto a soft and flat cotton backing.
Rich bold naturally dyed colour pallets of pinks, magentas, reds and purples in 100% sheeps wool from the flatter Boujad region of the Atlas Mountains. Low to medium pile loop-knotted weaving style that can range from light weight flat-woven kilims through to thick and heavy high wool-content pieces.
Often featuring large central diamond or lozenge shapes, and handwoven designs filled with Berber symbology and repeated pattern work around the borders.
Boujad rugs are some of the most sort after of the vintage Moroccan rug styles. Their unique and recognisable style is again often copied by commercial rug brands going for that 'bohemian style', but never matched.
The quality, designs, and colours of the natural plant and vegetable dyes of the rugs made around mid century, 1960s and 1970s in Boujad region are some of the most beautiful and now considered collectors pieces.
Beni Ourain Rugs
The ultimate and the most iconic of the Moroccan rug styles. These beautiful thick 100% wool master pieces come from the Beni Ourain tribe of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Created from the high quality handspun wool from the sheep of the region for warmth and protection from the cold Winters.
The colours of the true vintage Beni Ourain rugs range from a dark white, to soft white through to a warmer and sometimes even yellower creamy white. Featuring handwoven and perfectly imperfect geometric design work and criss crossing diamond shapes in grey, brown or black natural wool.
As with the other Moroccan rug styles, a Beni Ourain rug from the 1970s or earlier Mid Century pieces are a highly sort after and valuable, popular with collectors and architectural designers.
Watch out for bleached and extremely white white rugs. These will likely be newer make pieces from the Boujad region made to look like the Beni Ourain style.
Beni MGuild Rugs
Thick and heavy large area sized rugs from the Beni MGuild tribes of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Characterised by double loop knots on a sturdy wool base in distinct geometric designs. Many Beni MGuilds have been made to be used on both sides - the plush side in Winter, the flatter side in Summer.
Colours of the Beni MGuild rugs range from deep plums, violet and burgandy reds, through to royal blues and natural pinks and terracottas. Many of the older style Beni MGuild rugs will have softly faded back with time giving them a really beautiful soft tonal look.
Finding brighter pink Beni MGuild rugs may mean an old style rug has had a bleach wash put over it. This changes the properties of the natural dyes and results in an almost fluro pink colour.
Haouz Region Rugs
The Haouz region around Marrakech is a hot and arid inland area that calls for practical flat woven rugs. This style is often referred to as the Beldi style - Beldi meaning traditional, rural and natural.
The low pile hand-knotted weaving style often features intricate traditional designs in tones of ochre, plum, and soft natural reds. Often with a striped flat woven kilim section at one or both ends, woven onto a sturdy base of goats wool.
The typical zig zag or saw tooth edging around the borders, and raw end tassels in natural brown goats wool.
From the Marmoucha tribe close by the Beni Ourain tribe of the Middle Atlas Mountains. These natural white undyed wool rugs are often mistaken for Beni Ourains, but often feature their own distinct large criss cross diamond design on their surface in natural grey, brown or black wool.
These tend to be lighter in weight, size and thickness from the larger, thicker Beni Ourain rugs.
A region in the South of Morocco Taznakht is known for it's high quality weaving and beautiful wool quality. Rugs from this area have beautiful earthy colour pallets and often silky feel to the surface. Naturally dyed with turmeric, henna and other plant and vegetable dyes.
The style and designs from the region often features a large central shape and borders and full of Amazigh symbology. The Taznakht rugs dating back to mid century aged are highly collectable and some of the most special of the vintage Moroccan rug styles.
Got More Questions about the different Moroccan rug styles?
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There's so much more than just this quick guide to learn about the different weaving styles, the history and the cultural significance of these beautiful treasures.
So if I don't know the answer to your query then my friend Soufiane most probably will! Over the last 7 years in business together we've spent many many many hours over tea and tagine talking all things rugs and their origins.
One of my favourite parts of building this business over the years!