Handwoven rugs have long been revered for their beauty and craftsmanship. From a time when these rugs were woven out of necessity, to today when we appreciate these rugs as works of art, cultures across the world have woven various fibers into useful masterpieces.
Morocco has long produced some of the finest handwoven rugs in the world. The most famous Moroccan rugs are produced by Berbers. The Berber people are a group of historically nomad farmers and herders of livestock. They have a unique style known as boucherouite.
Boucherouite rugs were traditionally made from strictly recycled cloths, and reflected an answer of necessity. A clothes and other textiles were worn out or torn up, their strands would be used by Berber women to weave rugs. These rugs may have been for sitting, sleeping, or dining on. The originators of this craft certainly never could have anticipated the global popularity their handiwork of modest origins would eventually enjoy.
Today, these rug weavers still employ recycled material. As the world's desire for their unique, colorful, asymmetrically designed rugs have increased, the weavers have had to include more predictable fibers in their weaving, like wool. The design, however, has not changed.
Berbers, as nomads, have never participated much in the global urban society. The design of their artwork, therefore, has avoided the influence of conventional art styles of the Middle East. The colors on these rugs is vivid and vibrant, and the designs are rarely the symmetrical geometries of other Middle Eastern rugs. This unique style is what makes the Berber rug so special.
Additionally, Berber rugs do not adhere to the convention of flat, tightly woven rugs that one might see in other Moroccan (or, for a North American example, Navajo) rugs. In fact, the term Berber has come to indicate a tufted, thickly woven mat of fibers. The term, of course, originates from the rug styles of the Berbers. While some rugs are tightly woven and "flat", rugs are available with the interesting texture that helped make these rugs so famous.
Purchasing Berber rugs is easier now than ever. Dealers across the world offer Moroccan rugs at various prices. Of course, a number of these rugs are going to be imitations. Whenever a unique product becomes popular that originates from a specific area or culture, someone is going to attempt to pass fakes for the real thing.
The important thing when shopping, then, is to work with a reputable dealer. Read reviews about dealers in your area, and talk to other people who own Moroccan rugs. Make sure you're getting the real thing, and treat you resell to one of this unique masterpieces.