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  • We source a one-of-a-kind collection of handmade Moroccan goods.
  • A portion of the proceeds goes directly to our artisans.
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Moroccan Beni Ourain Rugs

Did you ever come across a unique kind of Moroccan rugs that has a white wool-pile and an antique appearance? Such a rug is the peculiar product of the Beni Ourain Berber tribes who settled in the northeastern side of the Middle Atlas.
With their timeless look and hand woven style, no two are alike. They are organic, dramatic and elegant, and can complement just about any decor. The wool is hand spun and usually undyed, and apart from being washed the wool is just as it was when it came off the sheep's back!
Originally these thick and heavy carpets were used as protection from the cold as floor and sleeping rugs. Today however, they have found a place in many homes as contemporary designers use them to add that lacking eclectic and chic touch to their modern furnishings and interiors.

Who Are the Beni Ourains

To speak of the history of the Beni Ourain in brief one would need to state that the family is an amalgamation of seventeen different tribes. It is speculated that the ancestors to these tribes had settled in the northeastern parts of the Middle Atlas during the 9th century AD. A considerable guesswork goes on as far as tracing their origin is concerned. Some say they come from southern Tunisia, while others think they migrated from present day Mauritania. Their Berber dialects are very diverse and owing to their voluntary retreat into remote mountain regions, the Beni Ouarain tribes were not subject to urban Arab influences until well into the 20th century.

How it All Began

The tradition of pile weaving is very old amongst the Berber tribes of Moroccan mountains. These highland tribes didn’t use their rugs to cover their floors, but they rather used them for bedding purposes. As a result, the rugs have a loose structure and can be wrapped easily around the body offering absolute protection from the bone shivering winter cold. Even until very recently, one of the tribes, the Bou Zart had been weaving the bnchgra, which is a type of loop-pile, often referred to as the ancestor of the pile-woven rugs. If one takes a close look at the Beni Ourain flat woven textiles, the resemblance to the Tunisian textiles is not hard to make out, which pushes one conclude that there must have a been a common source to these weaving styles.

The Characteristics of a Beni Ourain Rug

A typical Beni Ourain Moroccan carpet would have a network of diamonds or squares, made of thin black lines upon a white creamy background. While this is the typical signature of the Beni Ourain style, it is undoubted that borders and secondary guard design elements are purely the result of outer influences over the ages.
Even at this point of the twenty-first century, the Beni Ourain family is still free from any kind of urban Arab influences. These tribes have a tremendous sense of cultural pride and have a lot of appreciation for their place in the heart of the Atlas mountains. As a result, the process of weaving the Beni Ourain rugs hasn’t changed throughout the centuries, and today they are still used as blankets for those cold winter nights.

Please click here to check out some beautiful rooms with the Beni Ourain based decor.

 

Comments (5)
  • Ruby Allen  - Beni Ourain Pinterest board.
    Your Pinterest board dedicated to the Beni Ourain rugs is giving me a lot
    of ideas. Thanks for posting.
    Ruby A.
  • Monica Anderson  - Beni Ourain.
    Lovely pics on Pinterest!!! I am thinking about getting at least 2 of these
    Beni Ourain rugs for my living room and bedroom. monica.
  • Gloria Tevez  - email?
    Hello,
    I used the contact form to email you about a custom beni ourain rug but I
    haven't gotten any replies back. Can you please check your spam folder?
    thanks.
  • Tao
    Hi Gloria,
    Sorry about the delay. I did get your request, I just haven't had time to
    reply until today. It's been hectic with the holidays and snow storms!! I
    will look into your request for the custom Beni Ourain rug and will get
    back to you through Email.
    Hope all is well.
    Tao.
  • Kim Haas  - Got my Beni Ourain Rug!
    Finally got my Beni Ourain rug, Tao! Thank you so much for your thoughtful
    suggestions. You will certainly hear from me again soon :-)
    Kim Haas.
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