Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beginners' Guide to Moroccan Carpets #4

The photograph below is another beautiful carpet from a smaller tribe - the Beni M'guila from the Atlas Mountains. This is a new carpet but a fine example. The reverse side is a warm golden colour and would be used during summer, with the shaggy side in winter.

A new Beni M'guila with the reverse side displayed (below)

In the last few years a brand new style of Moroccan carpet design has appeared in the souqs and markets. There are various stories about the origins of this "painterly" style, but the most intriguing and possible the most credible is that the design does indeed come from attempts to copy paintings.

A riot of "Zanafi" colour

The style is described as "Zanafi Tribe" and the story goes that a Finnish painter married a Berber woman who then began making carpets in the style of his paintings. Whatever the truth of the matter, the style is immediately recognisable and has now been copied by others. A good example can be exquisite although some of the copies are of poor quality.

A modern "Zanafi" (detail)

Some rug merchants also have an older style of rug that is sometimes also called Zanafi although this is a very different High Atlas style with the design elements of the zigzag, triangle and diamond that appear frequently in High Atlas architecture and pottery. The rugs are called also "glaoua"
by merchants in the souqs of Marrakech because they were first made under the rule of Thami El Glaoui, Pasha of Marrakesh.

You will find the map of tribal regions and our other "beginners' guide to carpets" here.

The View from Fez would like to thank the Bouzidi-Idrissi family who generously gave of their time and expertise in compiling this series of articles. All the featured rugs are available (or similar styles)and can be freighted anywhere in the world! You will find the shops on the Talaa Kebira in Fez - (phone 0535636946 email

No comments: