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Journey Through Time: The Rich Tapestry of Moroccan Carpet Crafting

by nizar ennabil on July 30, 2023

Unraveling the Threads of History

The journey to discover the origins of carpets takes us back to the prehistoric times. Historians aren't in agreement on where they originated - the credit goes to Egyptian weavers, Chinese artisans, or even the Mayans. The one certainty is that carpets, since their inception, have been both practical elements of everyday life and stunning works of art.

The First Weave: Lost in Time

While it's universally accepted that carpet weaving is an ancient art form, pinpointing the time and place of the first carpet still remains a mystery. Various theories propose the Egyptians, Chinese, or Mayans as the inventors of carpets. However, it's plausible that carpets surfaced around the same time in different parts of the world.

The Moroccan Chapter

In Morocco, one of the oldest historical references to carpets can be found in a book by Jamil M. Abnu-Nasr. The fabric mentioned is likely a short-weave rural textile that continues to be produced today. The origins of urban carpets, particularly those from Rabat, Médiouna, and Casablanca, still spark debates, hiding secrets yet to be discovered.

R'bat Carpets: An Andalusian Legacy?

The "R'bat" carpets are believed to have come from Andalusia, brought as precious memories by the Gharnatis who were expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century. They settled in Rabat, Fez, and Tetouan. This theory is backed by the enlightened nobles of Rabat, most of whom are authentic descendants of the Gharnatis. It is a plausible hypothesis given the geographical proximity and historic ties between the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco.

A Turkish Twist?

However, Prosper Ricard, based on the comparison of Rabat carpets with those of Asia Minor, proposes a different theory. He suggests that Rabat carpets were introduced to Morocco by the Turks in the 18th century during their occupation of Algeria.

The Moroccan Transformation

Inspired by diverse influences, Moroccan weavers have been able to limit the similarities with Oriental rugs mainly to ornamental aspects. Recent studies have shown that the decorative elements have undergone radical transformations. Moroccan weavers, teeming with creativity, modify and interpret the patterns in their own unique way. These transformed motifs have taken local names, and the introduction of numerous new decorative elements led to the creation of a distinct Moroccan motif repertoire. Today, we rarely encounter motifs of Oriental origin in city carpets.

Crafting Stories in Every Knot

From prehistoric uncertainties to the vibrant tapestry of today, Moroccan carpets are an enduring symbol of the nation's rich cultural heritage. The weaving techniques, motifs, and inspirations may have evolved, but the core essence of Moroccan carpet crafting remains the same - an intricate fusion of practicality and art.

Join me as we continue to explore the timeless beauty of Moroccan crafts on Tuyya.com. Remember, every purchase is more than a transaction. It's a piece of history, a slice of culture, and a step towards preserving a cherished art form.

Photo de Alessandra Caretto sur Unsplash