Symbolism of Berber Rugs

Morocco is the country where most Berber people live today.  Their origin is not really known and neither is the origin of the name Berber.  Recent research suggests that the Berber people once populated the whole of North Africa until Arab immigration drove them out of the Eastern regions.  We now describe all tribal and village carpets from Morocco as Berber even though the tribe may now speak Arabic.

Berber carpets generally have a coarse quality.  They are creations of rustic folk art by women living with their families in villages or as nomads.  They are woven for their own use, as bedding or blankets, or to decorate their homes for special occasions such as a wedding.  They are prized possessions but if cash is needed, a carpet is taken to a local souk to be sold.

Whilst weaving, the lower part of the carpet is rolled and disappears from sight, so the weaver must rely on her creativity to continue her work, using tradition but also her imagination.  The symbolism of the Berber carpet is the expression of a primitive fertility cult, originating from remote early cultures.  There is no other form of artisan art in which this still survives to this day.

A weaver will not generally be aware of the meanings of the symbols she uses, simply saying that her mother or grandmother used the same ones.  However, we do know that the main ‘female’ symbols in Berber carpets are the lozenge, the chevron and the X shape.  The eight pointed star, known as ‘Solomon’s Star’ also belongs to the feminine fertility symbols.  Maternity is the most important aspect of a Berber woman’s life.  ‘Male’ symbols are always long and thin, straight lines or sticks next to one another, sometimes forming a fish-bone pattern.  The ‘snake’ also plays an important part in male symbolism and is the only animal which appears in Berber carpets with a symbolic meaning.  Male motifs usually frame the female motifs and almost always form a border to the rectangular area of a carpet. 

Understanding the meaning of symbols gives a Berber carpet a new dimension other than just aesthetic admiration.

Extracts and images from ‘Berber Carpets of Morocco – the Symbols, Origin and Meaning’ by Bruno Barbatti.  A recommended read for anyone interested in exploring the history and style of Moroccan carpets.


We’ve got some great reductions throughout our website and eBay store for the first Spring holiday of the year, even though the weather in the UK certainly doesn’t look very Spring like at the moment! Easter time is traditional for a bit of cleaning out and changing with the season, so if you’re spending time indoors, and thinking about making some new additions to your home, maybe adding some texture and colour, check out our offers on colourful vintage Berber rugs, Moroccan pouffes, Pom Pom blankets and textiles…..Some are for a limited time only. Next working day delivery also! Happy Easter!!

Marble and Mint in the UAE – Outlets

We had a fantastic day at the Ripe Market at Zabeel Park last Friday.  A beautiful warm day with a breeze, following some very unseasonal weather in Dubai!  Thank you to everyone who stopped to say hello and admire our collection.  We had an amazing response to our Vintage Berber rugs, and also to our custom made service for newly woven Beni Ouarain rugs, so here are a couple of places you will be able to see them in Dubai now, and in the near future…..

Tribe Dubai’s stunning studio on the Sheikh Zayed Road (next to Dubai Garden Centre) +97142718718 have some of our new Benis in stock, and Jo will be able to give advice on our custom made service for newly woven rugs.  We’re also really excited to be part of a new online community selling exclusive handmade products from independent designers and retailers, launching at the end of this month.  It’s called Home Bazar ( where you will be able to see a collection of our vintage Berber rugs, cushions and other textiles, available for shipping within Dubai. We’ll keep you posted!

Moroccan Boucherouite (Rag) Rugs


vintage boucherouite

The name ‘Boucherouite’ is from the Moroccan Arabic ‘bu sherwit’ which means a ‘scrap’ torn from a piece of clothing.  These colourful, hand loomed rag rugs, originating from the plains of Morocco, are made up from hundreds of scraps of household textiles including cotton, nylon, lurex and wool.  Their production started in the 1960’s and 1970’s when wool was becoming scarcer for the production of carpets for domestic use, and so it was necessary to find replacement materials.  Each of these brightly coloured rugs, with their abstract designs, is completely unique, a tribal work of art.  Extremely versatile in the contemporary home, Boucherouite are best displayed against a simple, uncluttered neutral backdrop, where their design and colour can really shout out.


vintage boucherouite
vintage boucherouite

Perfect for a child’s room, not only because of their interesting colour combinations, but also because they are completely washable!

New stock of Boucherouite rugs arriving soon! Don’t forget to follow us on our Facebook page for updates.  vintage boucherouite

Moroccan Rugs in a Curated Home

Home is a place where we love to be, where we feel safe and comfortable, and to me that means surrounding yourself with a collection of furniture and objects that reflect your life, experiences, taste and personality.  A curated collection of these things is what makes a home unique.  Looking around at my home now, I have such a mix of styles;  an Art Déco cabinet which belonged to my grandmother, a vintage Singer sewing machine, objects I’ve collected on my travels around the world, all sitting alongside a contemporary modular sofa which I couldn’t live without!


Of course, there are also my Moroccan rugs.  Not everything needs to be of the same style or from the same period, I think that kind of uniformity in interiors is a little boring, a thoughtfully put together eclectic collection is much more interesting, and will always be unique to you.


When you’re thinking about adding a rug to your room, think about the overall vibe you would like to have.  If you have vintage pieces of furniture, but would like a minimalist look, keep the focus on a few really nice pieces and add a contemporary sofa.  The classic clean lines and design symmetry of a Beni Ouarain rug will work perfectly with this kind of scheme.  Place the rug next to the sofa or underneath a table.  If your ideal look is more colourful and slightly busy, choose a vintage Berber rug such as an abstract Boucherouite or an artistic Ourika Valley rug.  You will be amazed at how well these rugs can fit into a variety of room schemes.  This became even more obvious to me at our recent photo shoot.


The locations we used were filled with a very random selection of vintage and modern pieces and yet, even with the small selection of rugs we had with us from the collection, everything looked great with something!  Pick out a few rugs that you like, and look around to see how many colours in your room scheme pick out a similar colour or shade in the rug….You will be pleasantly surprised!  Martina





If you’re wondering which rug colour will work with almost anything, take a look at this feature by Apartment Therapy.  You might be surprised, but I couldn’t agree more!  My eyes are always drawn to anything with pink tones when I’m choosing rugs for our stock, and it is amazing just how versatile the colour is….



Delighted to receive a ‘Best of Houzz’ badge for Customer Service today!  You can see our Houzz profile and reviews here










HAPPY NEW YEAR!! February Edition of Elle Decoration out now the ‘Trend Issue’.  Full of inspirations and interior trends for Spring/Summer 2016. Check out the stylish Malmo apartment with its Moroccan rugs and textiles on page 112!

You can find us at the back of this issue on the New Designer page.

Elle deco coverElle Decoration










Check out all our recent press coverage here





What a fantastic day we had on Tuesday 29th December at photographic studios and locations ‘The Roost’ and ‘Dalston Heights’ in Hackney, London.  Our photographer Ann Ashfield took some absolutely stunning shots of our new collection of rugs.  The space and the light in these amazing locations was perfect to show them at their best, alongside all the really cool and quirky vintage pieces that filled them!  Here’s a few of our favourite pics.  Photographer Ann Ashfield can be contacted at


You will be able to see the whole album on our Facebook page and Pinterest, and shop the look from our homepage.




Read my interview with Olivier Jennes of Wonderstreet, a great platform for makers, sellers, artists and designers to showcase their work


Read our features on styling with Moroccan rugs and homewares in:-

Metro newspaper (Pages 23/24) and Worcestershire’s Edge magazine (Page 27)