The Secrets Behind The Symbols On The Berber Rugs

The Berber carpet is part of rural folk art in Morocco. It is exclusively the work of the women who work there at spare time and at home, always for a utilitarian purpose, since this rug will be both a blanket, a mattress, and a decorative wall hanging for the holidays. The work is rustic, the themes decorative, essentially geometric patterns which are left to the free appreciation of the knotter, which explains its richness, its diversity and its freshness.

Beni Ouarain

Berber rugs  can be considered as the last authentic testimony of this archaic world.

The abstract and geometric language of the Berber carpet is originally derived from the nature and the body and the form and function of the human sexual organs.

It is based on duality; and the meeting of the two sexes becomes the expression of a magic of fertility which, formerly, was universal and included all nature.

Rugs symlbol are the artistic creation of the Berber woman. It reflects above all the phases of her life and the experience of her sexual life: as a virgin, as a new bride, the union with the man, pregnancy and childbirth.

For the weaving and in particular that of the magnificent Berber carpets, we can say that most of the Berber patterns and Berber signs made, always have a family, sexual and natural connotation. The symbolism is therefore most often assimilated to the couple, the family and all the acts of daily life. The Berber symbols follow the inspiration of the women who weave these works.


Feminine symbols are the most numerous and, often, the most recognizable.

They are the same since the dawn of time often used in tattoos: The sign X expresses an open female body, ready to conceive, the chevron approaches the X sign symbolizing the legs apart; The rhombus represents the uterus, the mother's womb or the welcoming and warm door.

These symbols often also form points, series of points, fairly simple decorations, straight lines, twisted lines, V-shapes, curves, crossed lines, geometric shapes in squares, circles, triangles and plant and animal forms.

Symbolic expression is always linked to beauty and aesthetics, some may signify a specific belonging to a social group, others protection against the evil eye or protection against disease, others will be made to attract the fertility as is the case in Morocco, when a woman has a tattoo in the shape of a cross on the foot or on the ankle.

The male symbols are no less numerous but just less visible, as they occupy the space differently and generally frame the female motifs. They are usually strip or bar patterns, in the form of scales, straight lines, zigzagging, stars or even fishbones.

These patterns are often associated with the number three (three-pronged comb, triple bar, two rings around a ring).

The serpent is the recurring phallic symbol and very readable, because it is found everywhere in the Mediterranean and in the East. But in most rugs, the cross is the sign of mating, while the double-hook rhombus is one of the most common symbols of birth and life.

Red carpet

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