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KILIMS AND FLAT WEAVES 2

 

THIS SECTION shows a selection of flat woven rugs often called kilims.  Sometimes they are just a plain weave with different colours and designs but they also frequently are embellished with designs in knotted pile and various forms of embroidery.

In Morocco, larger pieces are known as "hanbels" and smaller ones which are used for capes are "handiras".  Flat weaves are  used extensively in dwellings as curtains, covers and bedding. Capes are used to counter the intense winter cold in the mountains. Small pieces are used as horse covers and decorations

This group of weavings is for use in daily life and also for ceremony and special occasions.

Please send any questions or enquiries to me at ldrowcroft@gmail.com

THIS ELDERLY BERBER LADY first covered the back of her faithful donkey with a kilim animal cover, then added her leather saddle bags and two additional kilims for comfort before riding side saddle into the market near Ourika, a town in the foothills of the High Atlas south of Marrakech. Owners have a well used kilim cover for their horse or donkey for daily use but often keep a special one for celebrations. These covers are becoming really scarce now and the shipment of 5 pieces which just arrived has taken 4 months to find. They are such versatile pieces for our decor and add a fascinating item as a table cover, a throw over a bench or sofa and as a wall hanging.

BERBER KILIM / HORSE BLANKET - which is an old example from the southern edge of the High Atlas Mountains. Although these pieces are small they contain the most frequent types of weaving which are used to create the base and designs. The foundation is usually a kilim woven with undyed local Berber wool. Knotted pile is used to decorate the piece and strips of many various embroidery techniques are formed into floral sprays. They represent the best of authentic Berber lifestyle. Reference 3399. Size 92 x 140 cms., or 3ft. x 4ft. 7ins. Euros 595.

CLOSE UP -- The design of this horse cover portrays four rectangular gardens each with an embroidered small branch of flowers. They almost seem to float on the undyed deep black background.

BERBER KILIM -- HORSE BLANKET Which is old, mellowed and has a lustrous sheen on all the shades of wools used in the sections of knotted pile. Many shades of undyed grey and brown Berber wool have been used for the base kilim. The centre panel is beautiful and contains five full width strips of pile and embroidery. It is flanked by two long panels displaying floral shrubs guarded by Berber superstitious motifs. Exceptional age and condition, complete and original. Reference 3400. Size 103 x 122 cms, or 3ft. 5ins. x 4ft. Euros 625.

CLOSE UP -- The rich, mellow colours stand out against the undyed gentle background.

BERBER KILIM / HORSE BLANKET - which is a large example destined for use as a cover for a large horse. All the Berber weaving techniques have been used starting with a large range of undyed shades of greys and browns used for the kilim. A simple design representing 2 large rectangular gardens and displaying urns of flowers flank a central piled and embroidered strip. This has decent age but is complete and original. Reference 3401. Size 115 x 155 cms., or 3ft. 9ins x 5ft. Euros 440.

CLOSE UP -- The design of 15 items which run the width of the central panel are sometimes interpreted as Berber tents.

BERBER KILIM / HORSE BLANKET - The four panels of the background kilim represent 4 small gardens each separated, and surrounded by, narrow flower beds in full bloom and colour. There are depictions of urns, each with flowers, at regular intervals. This horse cover is from the southern section of the High Atlas. Reference 3402. Size 112 x 148 cms., or 3ft. 8ins. x 4ft. 10ins. Euros 340.

CLOSE UP -- showing a very graceful endless vine filled with opened flower heads which provide colour for the whole piece.

BERBER KILIM / HORSE BLANKET -- The many shades of undyed grey and brown wools used for the base kilim make an attractive background. Two long panels depict gardens and are separated by knotted pile strips depicting pathways. The six urns flanking the central panel are planted with flowers with the same colour as the national flag of Morocco. The cover is from Berbers of the southern section of the High Atlas. Reference 3403. Size 125 x 145 cms., or 4ft. 1ins. x 4ft. 9ins. Euros 290.

CLOSE UP -- Three weaving techniques - knotted pile, kilim weave and embroidery show the skill of the weaver.

MOROCCAN HIGH ATLAS HORSE COVER which has very unusual designs and colours. It is from the Ait Tamassin Berbers in the northern part of the High Atlas mountains. This small square rug was used as a saddle cover on ceremonial and festive days. Reference 3335. Size 70 x 65 cms., or 2ft. 4ins. x 2ft. 2ins. Euros 580.

CLOSE UP SHOWS A SPRAY OF MOUNTAIN FLOWERS IN AN URN.

VERY RARE BERBER HIGH ATLAS WEAVING. The structure, knotting and colors confirm this small squarish textile as being the work of the Ait bou Ichaouen Berbers of the eastern High Atlas mountains. The piece is made in two almost identical halves, carefully and accurately joined together. The center panel is flat woven kilim of undyed goat hair. The piled designs around the perimeter are depictions of fields of crops, which denote the owner`s wealth. This is well documented in the excellent original research by Alfred and Suzanne Saulniers which culminated in their masterful book "Ait bou Ichaouen", pages 66 and 67 refer as does color photo 89. It was probably used as a cover for a donkey or small horse. Reference 2660. Size 66 x 97 cms., or 2ft. 2ins. x 3ft. 2ins. Euros 260.

CLOSE UP shows the use of finely shredded old textiles which make an attractive fringe finish to the cover. Little is wasted in rural Berber society.

THE LOADS CARRIED BY CAMELS TEND TO BE VERY VARIED IN SIZE AS ARE THE CAMELS THEMSELVES thus the cover between the back of the animal and the saddle, together with the larger cover to protect the load, are selected from the range of kilims the owner has. I met this handsome young camel resting with his small herd near a water hole in the High Atlas.