More is More - The Return of Colour

there are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another
— Edouard Manet

Light, creamy-hued Beni Ouarain rugs have been cropping up in hip homes, and with their simple and plain geometric patterns and colours, they suit any kind of decor. However, Moroccan tribal carpets offer so many more opportunities to ramp up the style with splashes of rich colour

Certain Moroccan Berber tribes have long preferred certain colours, usually based on nature’s inspiration, age-old traditions, and the practical needs of tribal life. In the deep central Middle Atlas mountains, for example, the Zaiane tribes weave in red, from maroon to light blood red, reflecting the colours of the deep red soil.

A bold blood red Maroc Tribal Zaiane carpet in a home in Provence. Photo Douglas Mackie

A bold blood red Maroc Tribal Zaiane carpet in a home in Provence. Photo Douglas Mackie

Deep red, soft aubergine, bold mauve and earthy brown feature gloriously in carpets from the cold central and western Middle Atlas mountain zones, available from Maroc Tribal

Deep red, soft aubergine, bold mauve and earthy brown feature gloriously in carpets from the cold central and western Middle Atlas mountain zones, available from Maroc Tribal

A dramatic splash of red in JK Place Roma hotel, Italy

A dramatic splash of red in JK Place Roma hotel, Italy

Further south we see yellows and lighter tangerines, the dyes that were easier to get hold of nearer to the coast, and echoing the lighter-hued, sun-filled environment. Over to the east, at the Saharan foothills, the Ait Bou Ichaouen peoples create rugs with a wide range of deep, bright and clear colours, as their sheep gave clean white wool able to take jewel-bright dyes. The Ait Bou Ichaouen weavers believed orange to represent gold and is included for that reason!

A moody-hued Ait Bou Ichaouen rug from Maroc Tribal in designer Abigail Ahern's house. Photo from Rue Magazine

A moody-hued Ait Bou Ichaouen rug from Maroc Tribal in designer Abigail Ahern's house. Photo from Rue Magazine

Although an uncommon colour for Berber tribes, when blue is used it is deployed dramatically, and in strong colour statements, and originally some blue dyes would have come from grinding a particular stone to a paste

Two rare Beni Mguild carpets and a lively Azilal rug with asymmetrical Berber designs

Two rare Beni Mguild carpets and a lively Azilal rug with asymmetrical Berber designs

Picture of Athena Calderon's Brooklyn Apartment. Photo Athena Calderon for Harper's BAZAAR

Picture of Athena Calderon's Brooklyn Apartment. Photo Athena Calderon for Harper's BAZAAR

Colour in Moroccan rugs, like their tribal designs, plays an important role in communicating messages, and women weaving for themselves and their families would have taken time to choose and dye harmonious, clear and gorgeous colours, weaving them with skill and an eye for beauty.  In rugs woven for the market, this charisma often disappears, as weavers use colours customers prefer, and take less time to find or create beautiful hues and meaningful colour palattes and combinations

In colour, as in everything, authenticity is all