The Secret Language of Azilal Rugs

Azilal rugs are single knot, hand made carpets from the Azilal province of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. These pieces are traditionally cream with black/brown patterns, occasionally found with additional colours such as red, green and pink. While the patterns may seem whimsical and random – they are very telling of the maker.


Knotted by hand, usually by a woman – they can take up to a year to complete. The intuition, experience and fantasy of the woman weaving and knotting the rug permeate her work. The pattern and symbolism in the rug is the voice and expression of the weaver – and usually tells a rich story of her life and what is happening to her during that time.


Much of the symbolism revolves around womanhood, fertility, and marriage. Interrogation of a weaver as to the exact meaning of her symbols is fruitless– as the secret language that she applies is likely her most precious possession. This can be understood in the context of a society where women do not otherwise have a strong voice.


The main female symbols are the chevron (or V-shape), the X-shape and the lozenge (or diamond). Most of the variances in these shapes represent the woman’s body – her womb, sexual readiness, maternity and often where there are elements within or near these symbols, which indicate pregnancy and birth.

Similarly, there are also symbols for males – which are almost always straight lines, sticks, ribbons, fish bones and ladders. Not surprisingly these are imbued with phallic significance.

The way the male and female symbols interact tell the story – and the pattern of a rug can change entirely from one end to the other as the story unfolds over time.


Credits: All images are of rugs available through Kulchi.

This entry was published on March 28, 2013 at 3:23 am. It’s filed under Blog, Products and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “The Secret Language of Azilal Rugs

  1. Cathy on said:

    Is the bright flourescent rug at the top of this page for sale???
    Please let me know ASAP
    Thank you

  2. Cathy on said:

    Is the bright colored rug at the top of this page for sale?
    Thank you

    • Hi Cathy – yes it is. Are you based in Sydney? We will be having a preview event in Woollahra in May, and we will have that rug there. Otherwise, we can freight.
      Please email if you would like to know more. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: