What kind of Berber Rug is a Zayan rug ?
The Zayan rug comes from the Ait Oumalou tribe of Morocco. Amalou is a Berber word that means “shadow”. It’s a word used to designate the Middle Atlas Mountains where the Berber people, semi-nomadic stands, inhabit the shadowy slope. Steep wooded terrain with difficult access and harsh climate that forged the tenacious temperament of the Amazigh people. The Ait Oumalous were reputed to be indomitable, eager for excessive independence, which explains why the Zayan tribe is renowned for its attachment to the ancient land and their struggle for independence. We can see this value in the rugs that the women woven. The motifs are not always clear and the dominant colors are strong and rather dark purple or red.
Zayan Berber Tribe :
Zayane is a confederation which consists of many tribes surrounding the city of Khénifra in the middle Atlas Mountain. The inhabitants of Zayan are native Berbers known for their attachment to their own style of life, traditions and crafts. Speaking of crafts, this region is famous for the production of a unique type of Zayan rug that represents the Zayan culture.
Their living space which goes from the big cedar of Ajdir to the Boujad border of the Arabic speaking tribes. The Zayan tribes are known for their warlike tenacity especially during the colonization under the leadership of Mouha or Hammou Zayani who had put the settlers in trouble during the conquest of Khénifra. Despite the French defeat of 13 November 1914 at the battle of Elhri where the French army was humiliated, the strategists of the colonization were determined not to abandon the struggle against the Zayanis which constitute a bastion of the rebellion.
The Zayane culture is part of the great Amazigh culture which distinguishes it from other cultures. The most concrete example of this culture is the Ait Hdidou of Imilchil where is organized annually a great festival of a typical cultural dimension proper to the Amazigh.
Although they were among the first inhabitants of Morocco from the north and east, and since the Neolithic era, the Berbers of the Middle Atlas lived in a very isolated, closed and hermetic community, contrary to the thesis of European explorers which suppose the homogeneity between the tribes.