The tradition of rug making in Morocco goes back thousands of years. First woven for their utility, now Berber rugs are prized for their authenticity and are popular in Western modernist interior design. Beni Ourain rugs are one of the most sought after Moroccan rug styles the world over. Beni Ourain rugs are characterized by brown or black geometric patterns against a natural white or cream background.
The Beni Ourain is a group of Berber people that have long resided in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Consisting of seventeen different tribes, the Beni Ourain people are traditionally semi-nomadic shepherds and goad herders. These people began creating rugs from the wool of their sheep for practical purposes many, many years ago. Although they are now used almost exclusively as floor coverings, Beni Ourain rugs were originally made to provide warmth as blankets or bedspreads. This, as well as the superior quality of the wool, is one of the reasons that authentic Beni Ourain rugs are so soft and luxurious.
The craft of rug making is traditionally passed down from mother to daughter in Moroccan culture. Each rug is woven by hand in a time consuming and careful process. Since no pattern is followed each Beni Ourain rug is entirely unique. These Berber women historically wove records of their lives into the rugs. Universal themes of birth and death, fertility and nature, and rural life as well as tribal and religious symbols were all expertly crafted into their rugs. The geometric designs and symbols varied from tribe to tribe and even artisan to artisan. Each Beni Ourain rug is a unique piece of folk art.
The Western world took notice of Berber rugs during the mid-twentieth century when designers such as Le Corbusier, Ame Jacobsen, and Marcel Breuer began using them. The primitivism of these rugs added depth and dimension to the sleek geometric shapes found in modernist décor. Since their introduction into Western interior design, Beni Ourain rugs have remained popular with designers and regular homeowners alike.
The popularity of Berber rugs has endured no doubt because of their beautiful texture and stunning simplicity. Yet their versatility makes these rugs a friendly, yet sophisticated, addition to any room. The carpet’s cream color base brightens and opens living spaces – a design feature that is prized in current design trends. The neutral colors coordinate with a variety of contrasting or matching hues, while the geometric patterns somehow make these ancient rugs relevant to modern design aesthetics.
Traditionally, Moroccan carpets were no wider than 213 centimeters or seven feet. Now, authentic Berber rugs can be obtained in a variety of sizes making them suited to all different room sizes. For example, a Beni Ourain rug would make an excellent focal point for a high ceilinged living space. Or a smaller rug could add style to a master suite.
An investment in a Beni Ourain rug is an investment for a lifetime. They possess a rich history and remain highly sought after in the present. No doubt these beautiful floor coverings will remain a prize possession far into the future. Click here for further details.