Symbolism and Meaning in Azilal Rug Patterns

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Symbolism and Meaning in Azilal Rug Patterns

Azilal rugs have been a traditional expression of Berber art for many centuries. The beautiful pieces of art are handwoven by the Azilal tribe that lives in the remote region of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Af every rug, it can be said that it represents a story since the tribe has passed its knowledge and experience through the history of every motif on the rug. The researchers say that many patterns are inspired by the Middle Stone Age and Paleolithic philosophy of the universe as the very complex concept. In this paper, the author will outline the meaning of Azilal rug patterns and the associated symbolism.

The History of Azilal Rugs

Generation after generation of Berber women from Morocco have woven rug after rug, that became an art piece and a form of narration. They are made from sheeps’ wool and dyed with saffron, henna, cochineal, and indigo. Designs are inherited from either family or village, as each family had specific designs and symbols that were recognized through the woven rug in Azilal.

The Symbolism Behind Azilal Rug Patterns

The symbolism of patterns and designs is one of the most fascinating aspects of Azilal rugs. There is no standard for the meaning of each pattern – rather, every symbol is a metaphor for an element of nature, spirit, or daily life in the Atlas Mountains. For example, the popular diamond pattern is believed to protect the bearers while the zigzag mon pattern mimics water flowing through the mountains. The eye is another frequent symbol in Azilal art that is believed to protect people from the watchful eye of evil spirits, and the hand of Fatima, a femininity symbol, can also be seen, bearing a similar protective meaning. These patterns are not just woven into a rug but into a cultural tapestry of formations.

Azilal rugs

Understanding the Meaning of Azilal Rug Patterns

Azilal rugs are unique in all the sense of it, be it the color, the designs or the patterns. However, the most fascinating part of it is the symbols attached to the rugs. As stated earlier, these rugs depict symbols often define nature, spirituality or daily life in the atlas Mountain. Moreover, Rugs and Beyond add the symbol of protection to the rug. Moreover, the use of zigzag symbolizes water as it flows via the mountain. Therefore, understanding this symbol helps one understand how the Berber people survived with water problems. From the above, one can conclude that understanding the meaning behind the berries of the Azilal rugs is essential. It creates deep meaning of the dyes, the symbols used, and the patterns woven into the rug. The needlework displays the culture, tradition, and belief of the Berry people. Moreover, the living design reveals the Azila tribe’s history and heritage, a piece of Moroccan craftsmanship.


One of the most interesting things about Azilal rugs is the symbolism of the patterns. Different elements and patterns symbolize nature, spirituality, and daily life in the Atlas Mountains. For example, diamonds represent protection, and zigzags are the metaphor of water flowing through the mountains. Azilal rugs are more than just decorations; like any other art form, they tell stories. Through their symbols and polychromatic designs, we can learn a lot about tradition and the culture of people who have made these works of art for centuries.