In an eminently feminine gesture, they embroider enchanting carpets. They weave their dreams, or dream what they weave, thanks to these woolen threads that have linked the history of Berber communities for centuries.
80 km south of Ouarzazate, on the territory of the great Taznakht, the history of a free people is written. The Berbers, also called Amazigh, are the oldest inhabitants of the country, and more generally of North Africa. They have their own language and culture, and have been struggling since their uncertain origin to preserve their identity.
Between the massifs of the Atlas and Anti-Atlas, where resources are limited, where vegetation is scarce, the carpet is a vital resource for these Berber families of pastoral tradition. But more than an essential resource, the Berber carpet is the echo of these territories that have hosted these tribes to the point of becoming over time, the case of their identity, where are mixed with an abstract and enigmatic geometry, the symbols of the Amazigh culture.
All the carpets of the region are works of the citadel mountain, the Jebel Sirwa is an intermediate massif, located between the two peaks of the Atlas. Since the eighth century, this land of transhumance is home to Berber communities whose economy is based on pastoral activity. Its shepherds are known for the specificity of their sheep, their wool, this material both unique and universal, connects the carpet to breeding.
Reputedly silky and shiny, the wool of Sirwa is perceived as a gift from heaven, and has a sacred character, it is the soul of the carpet and refers to the memory of generations of breeders and weavers, who have slowly and jointly developed this traditional expertise.
These carpets are the expression of the identity of the Ait Ouaouzguit territories. They are woven in the douars, these ancient tent villages, which can be fixed or mobile, and from which the Berber populations originate. The douars are now attached to communes bringing together the descendants of these nomadic tribes, now settled.
Thanks to these douars, these groupings of dwellings, the nomads have been able to have stability, they have been able to provide for their water needs, this has also allowed them to cultivate their land, to have access to agriculture to feed themselves, their children, and their herds. This environment has also helped people to stabilize within these douars. The evolution of their way of life has pushed most of them to settle permanently, especially so that their children can have access to education.
On the rural commune of Iznaguen, which gathers about fifteen douars, the Berber carpet is also the torch of the art of the women. They put all their care when they wash, paint and weave this wool at the origin of the prestigious carpet Ouaouzguit. They are the artisans and guardians of this ancestral tradition.
Berber women provide blankets, djellabas, shepherd's cloaks or even braided shoes that are used for the different moments of daily life.
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