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North African
One of the more significant North African styles is the Moroccan. Prior to the 19th century no
Moroccan rugs have been found. A unique characteristic of Moroccan rugs is that they can be up
to 15 feet long. Even though the newer rugs tend to be shorter, they are still quite long. Moroccan
rugs can be pile weave, flat weave, or a combination of both. All Moroccan rugs are geometric. In
general, the colors used in Moroccan weaving are soft shades of red, blue, mauve, green, yellow,
and white. Moroccan rugs can be divided into the two main categories of urban and tribal. The
urban rugs are produced in Rabat and Mediouna, which are very different in appearance from the
tribal rugs. The tribal rugs are woven by the weaving tribes of Plains of Marrakesh, High Atlas,
Zemmour Confederation, and Middle Atlas. Even though most tribal rugs are very different in
appearance from the urban rugs, they have been influenced by urban rugs to some degree.

Urban Rugs

The older rugs of Rabat have several minor borders; as a result, they have long and narrow fields.
The field usually consists of a double-ended medallion or sometimes all-over diamonds with two
large and side-by-side stepped triangles at each end of the rug. Tulips are a frequent motif in rugs
of Rabat. The background is frequently red and the motifs are in various bright colors. After World
War I, in response to the Western taste, mainly Europe, colors became softer, and today's rugs
consist of floral motifs on a plain field similar to modern Persian Kerman styles

Rugs of Mediouna, a small town near Casablanca, have fewer minor borders than the Rabat rugs;
therefore, they have a wider field. There could be more than three octagonal medallions on the
field. Traditional Mediouna rugs are no longer woven, but the style is copied.
Mediouna Rug
Rabat Rug
Tribal Rugs
The main difference between the urban rugs and traditional tribal rugs is that in tribal rugs there is
less symmetry in the overall design, and many times no borders exist. Some common tribal designs
include horizontal stripes containing various repeating geometric motifs such as diamonds with
hooks or steps, squares, and triangles; all-over lattices mainly in shapes of diamonds; or repeating
motifs arranged in rows or columns on a plain field. However, tribal rugs have been influenced by
urban rugs; therefore, borders, medallions, symmetry in design and even floral motifs can sometimes
be seen in newer tribal rugs.
The Plains of Marrakesh
The tribal weavers of the Plains of Marakesh produce are very diverse designs. Pile rugs from the
Chiadma area and the Oulad Bou Sbaa tribes have a unique mixture of medallions, borders, and
motifs characteristic of Rabat and/or the traditional tribal bands with geometric motifs. The rugs of
the Rehamna tribe, on the other hand, have unique free-form designs.                                              
Plains of Marrakesh
with bands of
geometric motifs
Plains of Marrakesh
Free form
Rahamma Rug
The High Atlas
The tribal weavers of the High Atlas make rugs with symmetrical designs. The field contains a
square, rectangular or diamond medallion. Sometimes there are one or more diamond shapes within
the medallion. The rest of the field can consist of diamond lattices, all-over motifs in rows or
columns, or bands of geometric motifs. The older rugs tend to have no borders or a very narrow
border, and even in the flat weaves, the designs are created with knots.
High Atlas with
Rectangular Medallion
and Diamond
High Atlas with
Diamond Medallion
and all over Motifs