The carpets and textiles of the Middle Atlas, a harsh, remote environment in most areas during the winter months, are typified by the use of dark colours and often a somewhat austere geometry. The climatic conditions demand carpets and blankets that are a mattress against the cold flooring. Rainy conditions do ensure that there is plentiful grazing for sheep, so wool is produced in abundance. In the north-eastern regions these conditions resulted in the production of large, deep-pile carpets utilising a tough and robust knotting: the weft (or 'fill') is looped across two or three strands of warp. The Beni Ouarain carpets are good examples of this and are soft and durable with simple designs without borders. These carpets are mostly white (very rarely blue) with brown or black geometric motifs.

In the central area of the Middle Atlas the tribal carpets from Beni M'Guild, Ait Youssi and Zaiane tend to be based on a brown or black warp, often employing many different knots. As a contrast to the dark backgrounds, red, orange, yellow and white are used, with crossed squares balancing diamond shapes and large V patterns, often with a border on all sides.

To the west, the Zaire and Zemmour tribes produced a less thick pile using a series of differing designs, both horizontal and vertical. The Zemmour carpets are mostly built on a dark reddish background.

South of this productive area is the Boujaad region. This town is a pilgrimage destination (Zaouia). Symmetrical knots in the weaving gives their carpets strong vertical lines which in turn can support tremendous freedom of expression and a dreamlike quality in extreme abstract multi-coloured designs.

In the High Atlas, especially in the area around Jebel Siroua, the local production of textiles was first catalogued in the 1920s and the main market town is still Tazenakht. The carpets are often to referred to under the tribal name Ait Ouaouazgite, which includes the work of a number of sub-tribes. The summits to the north of Tazenaght are often over 3000 meters and their dominant features are reflected in the colours and designs of the regional carpets: bright and intense, they often employ central (mountain/sun) motifs in golden yellow and orange on a blue background. Ouaouazgite carpets are sometimes full of playful illustrative motifs, very often in orange, red and yellow, that contrast with a black background, extremely well structured with a regular border on all sides.

Neighbouring tribes include the Glaoua, Sektana and Zenaga, whose older carpets are tough-wearing and sometimes very tightly-knotted with up to 1500 knots/m2.

The Haouz region, on the plains to the west and north of Marrakech, has long produced textiles using figurative symbols, diamonds, squares replete with small triangles, concentric rectangles and zigzags, often in the same piece. They are naif and rural, reflecting a simple lifestyle dominated by rivers and isolated villages. In most cases the carpet will begin and end with a section of flat weave. The most common background is red/orange and the designs tend to be less intense than those from other regions. Notable tribes are the Oulad Bou Sbaa, Rhamna and Chiadma, near to the Atlantic coast.

Neighbouring tribes include the Glaoua, Sektana and Zenaga, whose older carpets are tough-wearing and sometimes very tightly-knotted with up to 1500 knots/m”.

Made by Berber women

With the exception of a limited area in eastern Morocco, all these textiles are conceived and created by women. In their nomad tents or in simple adobe mountain houses, women traditionally worked the wool from the moment it was sheared to the moment of tying the final knot. The symbols are theirs, the signature signs are theirs, the secrets are theirs. These women, misrepresented as illiterate, only knew the Berber language (Amerzigh) as an oral tradition; thus each carpet became an anonymous diary, an individual book.

The system remained unchanged: the wool once sheared was washed, hung to be dried and then locked away. Some weeks later the dry wool would be carded, often while formulae were chanted to ward off evil spirits and to ensure the successful completion of the weaving. The vertical loom (the top indicating the sky and the bottom the earth) was given a special place in the tent or house and itself purified before the weaving begins.

The dyeing process involves collecting the various flowers, leaves, fruit and dried insects and boiling the ingredients with the wool, fixing colours with rock salt or alum. Pomegranate skin, saffron and broom flowers made up the yellow tint; madder root produced red; mint for greens; henna leaves for orange; tea, tobacco or crushed walnut shell for brown and black. The weaving could then begin.