Posted by Patrick Weiler on 09-11-2003 12:39 PM:

Something Fishy

John has noted a lack of animal imagery in Moroccan weavings. I susptect that some of this has to do with the restrictive limitations of flatweaves.
I have a carpet in my collection with some rather fishy features:

It is about 8x5 feet and has a glorious orange weft, beautiful blues, great greens and riotous reds.

The weaver also added several of her miniature camels into the field, and some ewers, too:

I have no idea where the idea for the design of the carpet sprang from, nor do I know where it was made. I just call it Moroccan.
You may notice the similarity of the white symbols in the minor inner border with those in a NW Persian? rug on the Show and Tell now. The outer border borrows from Persian border designs, too. The fish in a mountainous sea almost are reminiscent of the so-called "Portuguese" carpets. They, too, have white-ground outer field sections portraying the ocean with fish and boats.
This all may indicate a city produced rug, but I have not seen one quite like this in the limited literature available to me.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Vincent Keers on 09-11-2003 07:54 PM:

Hi Patrick,

I love it, I hate it, I love it.

"Good morning.....It's going to be a fine day!"

Those E.T.'like heads popping up: "Beep, beep..what's up?"

Thanks for showing,


Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 09-11-2003 10:44 PM:

Design Origins- Arab and Berber

Patrick and All- It is my understanding that when those Turko-Arabs who invaded what is now Morocco, they brought their design characteristics with them, as demonstrated by the borders of your rug. Also, I think the field design might be a deconstructed version of the column and arch design originating in cairo and shared by the Turkish courts. Even today, while the overall character of the moroccans may be that of Berber, those peoples constituting the majority of urban inhabitants are of mixed Arab/Berber ethnic stock, and especially the northern cities. The invading turko-Arabs marginalized the Berbers, and they literally had to head for the hills to survive, yet there are a lot of hills in Morocco, and they eventually reasserted themselves- yet the pure Berber ethnics are still a rural and mountain people.
While this Berber kelim may sport some of the worse dyes to ever grace the pages of Turkotek, my Turko-Arab-Berber wife assures me that some of the figures in the border are talismans or amulets, the significance of which she does not know, but that some weavers do- Dave

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 09-12-2003 01:16 AM:

I am Honored


It is a rare pleasure to receive such accolades for a rug in my humble collection -

The Worst Dyes to Ever Grace the Pages of Turkotek.

I suspect the value of this humble weaving may now approach the pinnacle of the market!
It is, however, a pile weaving - not a kilim, with 3-to-5 wefts, white wool warp and an almost-gabbeh construction.
Your wife's confirmation of the amuletic-nature of the border motifs brings tears of ethnocentric tribalism to my heart.
The field design, with the curious columns and several lamp-style appendages hanging from both ends of the field do suggest a double-ended prayer-rug type of design.
The entire rug seems to be an amalgam of motifs from various sources. Even the Turkmen ashik devices at both ends of the field add to the collage of combinations of designs in this curious carpet.
And the Orange color. It almost brings tears to the eyes!


Patrick Weiler

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 09-12-2003 04:05 AM:

Hi Patrick,

I think I can solve some of the mystery surrounding your rug.

From Hali #94 _ "Moroccan carpets - From Rabat to the Atlas" page 76.
…Such carpets were made in urban workshops and were intended for the homes of the rich. (better you hide it in case of visit by the tax-collector)
…Rabat carpets are clearly inspired by oriental designs, especially those of urban Anatolia. It is probable, however, that they were knotted by people of rural origin, or at least by people of strong Berber tradition. Rabat carpets are situated at a confluence of two quite distinct aesthetics. The stylized floral forms imported from Turkey had to be grafted onto the more abstract geometric Moroccan tradition - not an easy union to achieve. The results, which might have been uncomfortably hybrid, are often highly original, and Rabat carpets are probably the most universally acclaimed of all Moroccan weavings. Despite their popularity, little is known about the exact conditions of their manufacture and development. Their date of origin is especially problematic and the earliest examples are very rare today."

The article shows two pictures of rather Anatolian looking rugs. If you want I can scan and post them here.



Posted by Patrick Weiler on 09-12-2003 10:14 AM:

Rabat Stew


I would love to see the scans of Rabat carpets you refer to.
Your description of Rabat carpets certainly pertains to this one, a mix of designs from Berber, Anatolian and Persian (and Turkmen) traditions.
At least they retained their love of the almost-vulgar orange.
Compared to the restrained-yet-lurid splotches one sees in contemporaneous Caucasian carpets, these Moroccan carpets revel in it.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 09-12-2003 11:14 AM:


First one, early 19th century, 1.61 x 4.00 m (5’3" x 13’1")

second one, early 19th century 1.65 x 3.38 (5’5" x 11’1")



Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 09-12-2003 05:27 PM:


Dear Patrick , Filiberto, and all- Actually, I was refering to a photo of my rug which I e-mailed to Steve last night- perhaps he is indisposed- I think that your rug is quite nice Patrick- I'll mail it to Filiberto- Dave

Posted by Vincent Keers on 09-12-2003 08:28 PM:


Hi Patrick,

What orange?
I see red, yellow etc. Orange?

What's wrong with orange?
I love orange!
It's a color.
Have a good look at 17'th century court rugs.
Purple, orange, pink. I've seen it. Exposed in a dark church........but I saw it....or maybe it was the short skirt and orange panties that.....oohh never mind.

So, whatever you say...I like your rug

Best regards,

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 09-12-2003 08:42 PM:

Into the Amalgam

Patrick, Filiberto, and All- Could these needlepoint works represent the missing influence exerted upon the design repetoir of Rabat carpets? My wife refers to these as "Tars Asab" or "Made with Counting" and refers to the way that they are executed by the seamstress. The northern portion of the country are famous for these, or at least something simular, although it is my understanding that they are usually executed in blue thread instead of green as these, which are from the Marakkech area. Also, I have seen (actually have a photo, but no time to scan) these pyramid shaped devices executed upon a strip and suspended apex down upon a wall as decoration for a bridal shower- ladies only of course.- Dave

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 09-13-2003 03:03 AM:

And this is David's rug.

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 09-29-2003 05:12 PM:

wedding Customs

All- I was able to find my photo of the bridal shower, showing some of these embroideries in use. In this case the apex is not inverted, but then this is not the same said piece, I think...
I've also thrown in a photo of my wife's Henna and a picture of her in the bridal litter- for those more familiar with these customs, they might further evidence as to the origins of the Berber people- Dave