Life in Red with a Red Moroccan Rugs

We’ve been collecting pure wool vintage Moroccan rugs in sleek and seductive reds for over two decades now. These were woven many years ago by Berber and Arab weavers. What’s fascinating is that they now seem to pick up on the current interiors renaissance of red tones and the trend for sexy 1970s-inspired décor. These genuine old handcrafted tribal carpets, sourced personally by us, bring a rush of restorative and optimistic red into modern interiors

The colour red has a deep history in Moroccan rugs:  the Zaiane Berber tribes in particular (who were and are based in Central Northern Morocco) have long preferred distinctive thick knotted pile carpets woven in every shade of bold, burnished and blood-red wool. Many colours in Berber rugs were used for their protective qualities – to bring luck or ward off evil. It may be that red was such a colour. Traditionally red would have been created from drying and pulverizing madder root. Treated in a certain way, turmeric could also produce a red pigment. Red, from henna, was also used on the body, face and hands to create detailed tattoos. While some weavers continued to dye their wool with tints from nature, most started to buy dyes or pre-dyed wool from the local market when they became available

Bold red rugs waiting to be repaired in a village in the Middle Atlas Mountains

Red can bring strong emotions and energy into modern interior design. In the same way, Berber weavers used the colour to illuminate dark homes and to draw attention to a beautifully crafted carpet – these rural rugs were woven to make domestic surroundings more beautiful

Colour in Moroccan rugs, like tribal designs, played an important role in communicating messages, and women weaving for themselves and their families would have taken time to choose gorgeous reds of every hue. Local rural life also influenced their decision, and these soft or strong reds reflected the colours of the gentle brown and warm red soil of the fields and mountains that the women lived alongside

The hedonistic interiors of the 1970s (brought into focus with the replication of American designer Halston’s office in the recent Netflix series) is influencing interior design trends with its rooms swathed in deep red. Clearly, old Berber rugs were created far away from this influence, yet so many of these lovely old handcrafted red Moroccan rugs feel contemporary many decades after they were woven. Berber women wanted their homes to be joyful places, just as we do

These lovely rugs were created to be warm and cozy, and these were the carpets I grew up with. This probably explains why our collection contains a lot of these exquisitely crafted pieces

The rugs we collect and sell are a world away from the souk rugs that are increasingly flooding the market, bleached and aged with chemicals to satisfy the demand for faded and muted pieces. Vibrant colour played a vital role in Berber craft, and the best old tribal carpets show designs and uses of colour that are free from any need to reproduce a certain look

Vintage Zaiane Moroccan Rug

These beautiful Moroccan rugs were often produced as bedding and floor and sofa coverings, which accounts for the long and thick pile. Combined with an array of glorious red tones, these are some of the most visually bold and audacious rugs you can find in Morocco

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