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“Atlas women” brought out the Moroccan berber rug from Forgetfulness

Moroccan Atlas woman weaving rug


In the high-altitude Atlas Mountains and about 120 km from Fez  the imperial and the scientific capital of the Kingdom, at the Ait Hamza roundabout of the Guigo region, women have met to preserve the traditional rugs industry and the tales and taste of Amazigh women. These women carry behind their innate creativity challenges and pains as a large segment of Moroccans refuse to purchase a product which carrying all  details of the days and nights of their lives.


Moroccan women weaving berber rug

The function of this utility Moroccan berber  rug exceeded  the utilitarity with the passage of time, and It has become a cultural and religious symbol, manifested in a piece with colors bearing signs and symbols of Amazigh tribes, which aspires to save the rest of the creativity produced by its women’s damaged fingers.  
"Since my young age, my mother taught me how to spin, shape and clean the wool, and clean it from the remains of the firewood. When we grew a little older, we learned the normal rug weaving In all its forms. "," said Maymouna , a Craftswoman in the Atlas mountain .


Moroccan bereber woman weavin with her daughter


The mother, who refused to teach the rest of her daughters the machine inherited from her ancestors added :”My first professional career was just after marriage, I took refuge in the neighbors and learned different forms of traditional decorations from the suburbs of Boulmane ."

For its part, Itto, an old woman, said :"I went to this trade after 12 years, because I left school early, so I followed my grandparents and fathers, and now this is the profession I pass to my little family and I do not have any alternative work.”


Moroccan berber women working in the cooperative

A long time ago, the authentic Moroccan berber rugs took on enchanting forms for a manual creativity emanating from fingers which formed different  geometries for a rug associated with the traditions of  weddings and celebrations , and was a symbol of the modesty of berber women putting types of those magic patterns on their bodies for clothing of different symbolic significance. 
The traditional Amazigh rugs were associated in its all various charming forms with ancient customs and festivities that have been preserved by a number of families in the Atlas Mountains to this day, said Mimouna in his spech , and confirms also that a long time ago, brides put on a piece of embroidery called Tamizart at  the moment she left her mother's house for her new home ( husband home).


Moroccan craftswoman atlas mountain

This piece has long been a symbol of decency and chastity, while women can not leave their homes or go to attend events such as weddings and other celebrations in the area without wearing Tamizart , a piece composed of warm wool threads, with different colors and iron circles that give them a beautiful  esthetic touch. 
Under the constraint of non-schooling  affecting most of the girls in the region due to the long distance separing their homes of schools, and because of the poor social status of most families, most of them resort to learning the weaving of traditional berber rugs. 


Moroccan woman weaving rug in artisanale cooperative


In addition to their common profession, they have a strong relationship.
Itto tells : "We spend the whole day with each other, we talk to each other and we worry about each other ... Over time, the relationship has changed and we are one family." Khadija, the secretary of funds at  Atma's cooperative of traditional textiles, explained that  the cooperative, in cooperation with the Regional Academy for Education and Training, has launched an initiative to combat illiteracy for the women who are involved in the cooperative, counting about 60 beneficiaries.


Moroccan Atlas woman showing its hand woven rug

"Women have also benefited from a training in calculations and techniques related to the weaving of traditional carpets and pieces by Moroccan and international organizations," she added. 
In a convenient location to receive the women of Ait Hamza village and the surrounding areas, women  coming from far away from the workshop located at  Ait Hamza village meet to weave different kinds of rugs resisting the time and expose the suffering and the joys of their creators.


Moroccan craftswoman speech Moroccan berber rug

Thus,those craftswomen fully support  alone the trouble of seeing their traditional works shunned by Moroccan consumers and to resort to the acquisition of modern or exotic carpets, knowing that  they spent severals days in weaving them.on the other side, the carpet industry is established by the patience of girls who work in traditional rugs and carpets workshops and must remember the designs , colors, and maintain consistency, all under the supervision of a specialist with great experience. 


Moroccan berber woman weaving tribal rug


   The researchers confirm that the textile industry is one of the oldest traditional industries in Morocco. When the Amazighs settled in the Atlas Mountains and the nearby plains, about 1500 feet above sea level, they carried with them the basic principles of this industry and acquired great skill in the field of the Phoenicians dyeing  technics.

Moroccan women spinning wool -berber rugs


This activity had knew a major development  with the Islamic conquest of Morocco in the seventh century AD. The conversion of the Islamic religion also contributed to the emergence of new symbols and images, especially the delicate geometric forms known to Islamic art.


Author : J.Rodi

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  • shirley mcculloch on

    Would like small carpet approx. 60cm x 90cm with traditional vegetable dyes if possible

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