Artisan Hocine Bazine showing his rugs. Credit: Berber Art
Berber Rug Traditions Passed Down Over Generations
In Ghardaïa, Algeria, an oasis town in the middle of the Saharan desert, master weaver Hocine Bazine creates traditional Berber wool rugs, using the methods and motifs that have been passed down for generations. Like many artisans who keep their local heritage alive, he learned how to work a vertical hand-loom from his grandmother.
"At a young age I had the pleasure of watching her create the most exquisite rugs, and go through the whole process of drying wool, arranging lines on the traditional hand loom, and producing a beautiful piece of art," Bazine said.
Hocine Bazine on a vertical loom: Cultural Survival https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/berber-art-market-keeping-our-culture-alive-future
Empowering the Community Through Berber Rug Weaving
Bazine doesn't work alone. He wants to bring his heritage to countries around the world while creating a resilient economy at home.
"Rug weaving remains today as the main source of income for many families in Ghardaïa," Bazine says. "By making Berber rugs, my goal and passion is to help many families rise out of poverty by buying their wool and employing them as weavers. Keeping my Berber culture and its legacy alive motivates me to work harder and harder."
Each piece is a one-of-a-kind rug, artfully crafted by Bazine and the families in Ghardaïa, a walled city, also known as the "the Pearl of the Oasis." Ghardaïa was founded almost 1,000 years ago in the M’Zab Valley in the Sahara Desert. In 1982, the city was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a site of “outstanding universal value.” The indigenous people in Ghardaïa are Berber, also known as Amazigh.