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What Is Moorish Design?

We’ve been hearing a lot of people saying we have to “get the Moorish design look” or that “Moorish designs are trending,” and we realized that people may appreciate a little history on the Moors and their “look.”

The Moorish ‘Look’

This is a style that evokes thoughts of wandering the Empty Quarter in search of paradise; a caravan laden with rich, colorful fabrics, thick hides and tanned leather, plush rugs and pillows, and hand-hammered lanterns lighting the way.

The Moors, generally, are often imagined as the original Bohemians, or nomads who ruled the high sands of the Sahara, but in truth their domain and design influence are vaster than any desert.

Moorish Etymology  

While the Moors are thought of as a distinct people – specifically, Muslims from North Africa, Spain and other nearby Mediterranean coastal regions – ethnographers agree that the term “Moors” has no real racial significance.

This is because it’s a general term that was employed by the Romans hundreds of years ago to describe the Berber and Arab tribes of Mauritania (which then included Morocco, western Algeria and parts of Spain), though it was not formally or willingly adopted by any of these people.

That the name is not self-adopted is notable, as some find the term lacking in good taste, particularly when it’s used without regard for its historical context or appreciation of this region’s wider cultural influence.

Moorish History

To talk of “Moorish history” is difficult, because it comprises the history of so many different regional cultures. There may be shared history, but there is no singular history.

And, this is a big part of the Moorish design influence – it evolved from a blend of cultures produced by trade and transportation in and around the Mediterranean Sea. So, what does a blend like that look like?

The Moorish ‘Look,’ Revisited

Simply put, there’s nothing else like it in the world, and for good reason. It’s an explosion color, texture and sinuous architectural curves that has roots in Spain, North Africa, Italy, Greece and Turkey, and any number of places in between.

The result is an intoxicating mix of cultural design influences that play so well together we often just assume they have a single origin. Beautiful! 

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