Looking for handmade Algerina rugs? Want to know what goes into making a traditional carpet in Algeria? Read our guide for more facts & information…
Rug making in North Africa dates back to the stone age and may have originated among the Berber people. The ethnic make up of Algeria is split between Arabs and Berbers. The Berbers wear cloaks which employ the same construction methods as carpets and they have heavily influenced the designs of Algerian rugs. Designs from both Persia and France also influenced the design of modern Algerian rugs.
Most Algerians practice Islam and the many traditional interpretations forbid the depiction of humans or animals in art so Algerian rugs use many geometric motifs in their design. Some have compared the designs of Algerian rugs to the designs found in native rugs of the American Southwest. While the designs are quite similar, the Native Americans probably copied them from Algerian rugs which were brought to the New World by the Spanish conquerors. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, there were no sheep in North America and no wool for weaving rugs.
Other popular designs are taken from nature and include flowers, vines and leaves. These designs can be very intricate and may also include geometric elements in borders. The colors are usually vivid and while the designs are somewhat abstract they are carefully balanced. Algeria is a large country and the designs of various rugs and the colors used in the rugs often indicate the region where they were made.
Algerian Government Funded Programs for the Arts
During the French occupation, many of the traditional arts of Algeria, like rug making, were discouraged. After Algeria won its independence the new government began funding grants to encourage a renaissance of traditional Algerian arts like pottery making, jewelry making and, of course, rug making. Under these conditions a resurgence of the traditional art of rug making occurred and many Algerian rugs are still handmade by master craftsmen. The rugs are made from wool and silk and are priced by the number of knots in a square meter. Fine rugs may have over 250,000 knots in a square meter.
Rug making is an art which is traditional in most Northern African countries and some of the finest rugs in the world are made in that region. Handmade rugs are expensive, but they can last for generations with proper care. Many people choose to hang Algerian rugs on walls rather than place them on the floor because their intricate designs and beautiful colors easily take the place of artwork while offering a sense of warmth to any room.