The goal of our buying trip to Morocco was to purchase an interesting, unique Berber rug collection. And we did, with only one deviation to the plan: they are not called Berber. Like many of you, we’d always heard the word Berber. Berber, we read, were an original, African ethnic group that dates back 9,000 years. In addition to a unique language (actually three––two of them primary and one obscure), this nomadic group boasts art forms including jewelry, musical instruments, tattoos, and textiles.
When our guide picked us up––day one of a three-day excursion to Berber villages, pottery centers, an ancient library, and a trek into the Sahara––we were delighted to see his Berber robes and head scarf.
Berber, it turns out, is a derogatory term. It derives from the Greek word “Barbarian,” and began as a label, not an indigenous term. The correct name is Imazighen (plural) or Amazigh (singular), which translates to “free people.” Having been marginalized and even persecuted throughout most of their history, the Imazighen people are reclaiming their identity, including the correction of their tribal name.
We’re so excited, and proud, to present our High Atlas Collection of Imazighen rugs, distinct for their two-in-one rug techniques, flat weave and shag. The designs include tattoo symbols (moon & stars, snake, honey cake), and the dyes, like Gabbehs, are derived from plant materials. The green, for example, comes from henna and mint. The red, from poppy.
We think you’ll love the collection as much as we do.