We’ve been noticing a trend recently of Tuareg carpets. That is, if traditional carpets that have been made for generations can be referred to as a “trend.” Named after the Tuareg people, nomads that inhabit Saharan North Africa, the hand-woven rugs are made of dwarf palm tree fibers, camel hair and leather strips and were traditionally used as tent or floor covering.
The Tuareg people are somewhat of a mystery in themselves. Perhaps best known for the bright indigo veils worn by the men, they are sometimes referred to as the Blue Men of the Sahara. Reportedly of Berber origin, their numbers are unclear, but estimates run between 300,000 and 1 million. Their history dates back thousands of years – the Tuaregs were recorded by the Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th Century BC.
Tuareg camel caravans played the primary role in trans-Saharan trade until the mid-20th century when European colonial infrastructure – railways and roads – were introduced. Tuareg merchants were responsible for bringing goods from the great cities on the Southern edge of the Sahara, to the north, from where they were distributed to the rest of the world. Because of the nature of transport, and the limited space available in caravans, the Tuareg primarily traded luxury items, things which took up little space and on which a large profit could be made.
We love the way these rugs look in mid-century interiors, where their brown tones and geometric patterns add a subtle touch of eclecticism. The rugs, however, are versatile enough to be used indoors or outdoors and have recently made an appearance in two stories in March’s Architectural Digest US. We’d love to get our hands on one of these beautiful pieces made even more special by their history.