Rug Styles

Weaving techniques vary throughout all of Morocco. Across the different tribes, regions, and villages, many different styles can be found. 

Since the weaving craft is taught by elders, the style of each tribe or region often reflect the climate, needs, and customs of that particular community. Artisans in the snowy Atlas Mountains, specialize in thicker rugs than the artisans who reside in the desert. This variation continues throughout every weave choice—from the animals the wools are harvested from, the dye ingredients available, and the local symbols and traditions. 

Flatweave

Flatweave rugs are thin, soft, strong and full of symbolism. They’re also called “Hanbel” or “Aknif” in Arabic. All of our Flatweave rugs are made in the south of Morocco, which produces the highest quality flatweaves.

Intricate Hanbel

This style is thought to originate from the area in and around the Village of Tazenakht, an area rich with a weaving history. While the majority of this weave is flat, the design accents are either embroidered or have a slightly higher pile, giving this piece texture and dimension. Every design element comes entirely from the artisan’s imagination. The design elements within this technique tend to depict an array of symbolism in the Amazigh culture.

Zanafi

The Zanafi weaving technique comes from the High Atlas Mountains.

This technique requires the highest level of skill and concentration. Each row is created with an intricate system of counting. This style is extra special as it's reversible.

The Zanafi rug is also known for its side tassels, but can be woven without them on request.

Low Hand-Knot

The Low Hand-Knot style of rug most often comes from the southeastern Tribes in and around the Siroua region.

The pile of these rugs is much shorter than the Hand-Knot rugs from the north. Despite the shorter pile, these pieces are still quite plush and cozy.

One significant difference in technique with this rug, is the artisans usually pre-cut the wool prior to weaving on the loom, while the women in the north cut the wool after looping it around the loom. 


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Medium to High Hand-Knot

There are many varieties of a rug that contains a Medium to High Hand-Knot—Boujad, Azilal, Beni Ourain, Beni M'Rirt, and Marmoucha, to name a few. While they may have similarities, the knot technique varies depending on the region or tribe the rug comes from.

The majority of these rugs come from the Middle Atlas and High Atlas Mountains. The local sheep in these colder climates have a thicker coat to sustain them during the winter months, which impacts the thickness of the wool, and in turn, contributes to the height of the pile.

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Vintage

Our Vintage pieces were usually made by grandmas or great aunts and then passed down through generations. Even when a family runs out of room or decides to sell an old rug, they’re bound to bring beauty to their next home.

Most vintage rugs you will find in local Moroccan markets are purchased by male brokers, who visit neighboring villages and buy up all the pieces they can in one transaction.

Our process is different, as we work directly with the women selling these heirloom rug pieces. We visit their homes and neighborhoods to see the pieces in-person and negotiate face-to-face.

One telltale way to spot vintage rugs is by their odd shapes, as they may have been made to fit into old buildings, or specific spaces generations ago.

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Boucherouite

This rug technique is called Boucherouite (pronounced boo-shay-reet). These pieces are made from yarn, recycled clothing, or even textile scraps. Boucherouite rugs are often used in weavers’ own homes. In fact, this style of rug wasn’t traditionally sold but their vibrant, playful nature has made them popular.

Kharita/Tazenakht

This rug style has a few different names; Golden Fingers, Kharita ("map" in Arabic) or Tazenakht. This complex weaving technique is usually made by the senior members of the Village. This technique consists of a maze of geometric shapes that has the same design on both sides which allows this rug to be reversible. This Flatweave is incredibly strong and will withstand the test of time.

Glaoui

The Glaoui technique is named after the Glaoua (Glawa) Tribe of southern Morocco.



Glaoui is an extremely technical weave as it incorporates three techniques: Flatweave, Hand-Knot and Embroidery.

Mixed Technique

Mixed weaving techniques represent a new modern technique where the artisan will bring two techniques she specializes in. 

The combinations could be endless either combining two techniques such as Zanafi x Hand-Knot, or three Hand-Knot, Flatweave and Zanafi.

These rugs usually showcase quite modern designs.

Zemmour Hanbel

Originating in the Middle Atlas Mountains, Zemmour Hanbel rugs are made with the thinnest of sheep's wool.

This labyrinth-like weaving technique requires acute focus and skill. Each symbol in the design is created with an intricate system of counting. You will always find something new to admire in these detailed pieces.

As the loom and weft (the wool base of the weave) rub together, this creates a rhythmic sound, like the plucking of a guitar.

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Kilim

The Kilim style originates from the Middle Atlas Mountain region.

These rugs carry symbolism around the identity of the tribes weaving them.

Many Kilim designs are interpretations of a popular window dressing in Moroccan homes; intricate lattice work surrounding oriel (or bay-style) windows with stained glass accents that create shade and privacy while allowing natural light to enter the home.

Handira

Known to westerners as wedding blankets, Handiras are usually made by a bride’s female relatives or the women of her Village. Traditionally, brides wore the blankets as capes on their way to the wedding but these days, they’re used to wrap gifts for the newlyweds.

The blankets are a symbolic blessing for the marriage, and after the wedding, they’re often passed on to other couples to continue to share the blessings and joy.