Beni Ourain rugs, no two are alike!
Beni Ourain carpets are considered the most prestigious rugs in Morocco, made from the very finest wool. every piece you take is the only piece, one of its kind." These rugs are luxurious and perfect for any sort of home design.
Beni Ourain rugs are authentic tribal rugs fully hand-woven by women of the Beni Ourain and other neighbouring Berber tribes that reside in the North-Eastern Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco, in the current Tazekka National Park, a province situated between Guercif, Taza and Sefrou cities.
Beni Ourain rugs traditionaluse :
Winter is rough in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains where the lowest temperatures in Africa are observed. To protect themselves from the cold, Beni Ourain tribes, who lived in traditional tents, had no alternative other than to produce thick wool rugs to insulate themselves from an hostile environment.
The Beni Ourain rugs were not intended to have a decorative purpose, they were traditionally used as bedding and blankets to keep them warm with their thick pile.
Few decades ago, the Beni Ourain rugs were confined in Berber tents of the Atlas Mountains, this confinement is definitely broken in the early twentieth century under the French protectorate. Nowadays, they are used all over the world in refined interior decoration, as a very chic and fashion floor covering.
Beni Ourain rugs wool :
Beni Ourain rugs are made of pure sheep’s wool of high quality featuring shining pile of golden and ivory highlights ; one of this best organic wool is produced out of a unique rustic Berber sheep breed around the ancient race called ‘Marmoucha’.
The Beni Ourain tribes excel in selecting softer and silkier wool during a harvesting that could last several years before gathering enough wool to make some rugs.
Patterns and colors of Beni Ourain Rugs :
Because of their landlocked and mountainous location in the northern Middle Atlas, the Berber tribes of Beni Ourain have never been influenced by the Arab-eastern designs .Their rugs have kept their originality, reflecting archaic appearance of minimalist designs, composed of black and brown asymmetric patterns of diamonds,lines and triangles, in an off-white, cream background.
Beni Ourain rugs measures :
Because the Beni Ourain tents have a rectangular form, the carpet should normally cover the complete interior space of the tent. Nowadays, Berber houses have long narrow rooms so the rugs tend to be long and not very wide. As a result, these rugs are approximately 4 meters long by 2 meters width.
The weight ranges from 40 to 65lb. and the height of the wool spread from 25 mm to 50 mm. Logically, a rug of more than 2.20 meters width is not an antique Beni Ourain carpet. Nowadays Beni Ourain rugs are becoming increasingly popular in contemporary homes as they can be weaved in any size.
Beni Ourain, a source of inspiration...
The Beni Ourain rugs very artistic designs have inspired many European artists such as Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier (who matched the Berber rugs with sleekly designed furniture), Paul Klee and , as well as most famous modernist architects in the 1920’s and 30’s . They got trendy by Henri Matisse, who called them “The huge whites”
Beni Ourain in interior decoration styles :
“I don't see them as trendy; I see them as timeless” and ‘’this quirkiness is exactly what makes these rugs appealing to interior designers. They give a room, particularly a cold, modern room, warmth and patina as well as a dose of ethnicity,” said Timothy Whealon of Timothy Whealon Interiors in New York about the Beni Ourain rugs.
The charm, luxury and simplicity of these Berber rugs make them the most famous and appreciated carpet in Morocco and a worldwide interior design reference. These tribal rugs seem to combine a modernist taste for minimalist linearity with the graphic symbolism of primitive art. The tribal graphics pair well with contemporary and traditional space designs
The Beni Ourain off-white carpet can be used in many decorating styles, not overloaded with colours and patterns: They put more value in the furniture, whether antique wooden furniture, leather lounges or design furniture
They would be amazing next to a fireplace, to spend a cosy night lounging on its incredible plushness...Its colour and texture will make all your room furniture look unique and beautiful... It will work in a neutral colour, traditional bedroom, as well in the brightest and edgy of the living rooms. Wherever they are,they feature a very chic decorative flooring accent.
The thickness of the carpet gives them sufficient weight to stabilize it on the ground. Contrary to the finest carpets that bend easily and they must be constantly readjusted.
Beni Ourain carpets prices :
Beni Ourain rugs are usually available with reasonable prices, although the vintage carpets become rare. Prices will vary depending on several criteria such as: The quality of the wool, of the weaving or the density of knots per square meter.
Genuine vintage Beni Ourain carpets can be quite expensive and hard to find without the help of a collector expertise. One of them is Jean-Yves Sevestre who is admitted to be very accurate in terms of the Beni Ourain rugs criteria and one of the biggest collectors in Marrakesh, a successful exporter of Beni Ourain quality rugs worldwide.
Imitations and Fraud :
Unfortunately, Turkisch and Chinese factories produce copies of Beni Ourain carpets with industrial wool and can be sold for half price of an original. It is very easy to discover the frauds by simply checking out the reverse side of the carpet, the irregular knotting is a sign of a genuine Beni Ourain.
For the sake of the art, the Beni Ourain weavers are still hard at work, producing their masterpieces and decorate the world in their own way.
Brief overview about Beni Ourain tribes :
Traditional costume of an Ait Jelidassen woman , which is a fraction de Beni Ourain tribes.
History and Way of life of Beni Ourain tribes :
The nomadic Beni Ourain tribes are known worldwide for the quality of their white carpets decorated with stripes or geometric shapes such as diamonds
Beni Ourain is the name of a Berber confederation of 17 berber tribes (Ahl Taida, Beni Abd el Hamid, Beni Jelidassen, Ait Ighezrane, Beni Zeggoute, Tahala, Beni Bou Zart, Zerarda et Ahl Telt..etc.) . They are all indigenous to the Northeaster mountains of the Middle Atlas in Morocco, in the south of the Moroccan Rif. Their origin in Morocco dates back to the ninth century with the arrival of Berber tribes coming possibly from the south of Tunisia or northern of Mauritania.
The Beni Ourain tribes are spending the summer with their herds on the heights of the range, over 2000 meters and come back down in the grassy plains with the first snowfall. So herds of goats and sheeps enjoy a rich and abundant food throughout the year providing a high quality wool to produce the most appealing rugs of the world.