Moroccan rugs are made in the five regions of Morocco: the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas, Rabat, Eastern Morocco and the Atlantic plains. Retaining an authentic indigenous character and woven by Berber tribes living much as they did centuries ago, vintage Moroccan flat woven and knotted pile rugs are remarkably diverse in style, but all share the characteristics of bold color, thick shaggy pile, naive yet charming motifs and lively patterns of geometric elements.
Moroccan rugs have a singular beauty and earthy authenticity directly tied to the distinctive history of Moroccan textiles and weaving.
The Moroccan weaving tradition is not monolithic. Many of the designs that get lumped together under the Moroccan label are the inheritance of distinctive tribes and ethnicities.
Many of the most recognizable designs, such as the cross-hatch pattern of the Beni Ourain rug (pictured above and seemingly ubiquitous in the design blogosphere this year), come from the tribes of the Atlas Mountains, the range wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sahara Desert. These nomadic groups are collectively known as the Berber tribes. Their presence in North Africa preceded Arab migration, and they are found not only in Morocco but also in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Algeria.