Beni Ourain Rugs- The Elegant Moroccan Archetypes
Moroccan rugs date back to the Paleolithic Era with hundreds if not thousands of weaving styles. Each style varies in design and construction depending on the historic area of origin.
The Beni Ourain rugs are undoubtedly the most iconic of Moroccan rugs. They are well-known worldwide for their premium quality of 100% undyed wool.
"The Great Giants", as Henri Matisse called them, influenced many great modernist architects and European artists in the 1920s-1930s like Paul Klee, Le Corbusier, and Alvar Aalto.
You can recognize a Beni Ourain rug at first glance by its elegant appearance and rich texture. The base color is neutral and patterned with abstract geometric diamonds or lines. The decorative shapes are either grey or black, made using the natural dark wool from sheep.
Certainly, Beni Ourain rugs add an exquisite look to interiors and tell a story that deserves exploring. This article shares their history, how they are made, and how you can properly style them in your home.
The Story of Beni Ourain Rugs
In the 9th century, 17 tribes settled in the northwest of the Middle Atlas Mountain (Taza region), forming a congregation called Beni Ourain, also known as Aït Ouarain. Originally from Figuid and Zenata, this tribe speaks a Berber called Tamazight Zenatya.
Beni Ourain is harshly cold most of the year. Thus, indigenous women made large rugs for personal use to ensure warmth. Designed thick and soft with high grade wool, these rugs served well as floor covers, blankets, and collective beds.
With time, women started weaving rugs as a job to provide for their families. The process was long and tedious, but it has surely enabled them to emancipate themselves from men in terms of independence. They spent their time raising children, doing house chores, and making rugs.
Meanwhile, men performed outdoor activities like taking flocks of sheep to the high plateaus of the mountains where food was abundant, and transporting the finished rugs to big cities like Marrakech for sale.
People from Beni Ourain are very tied to their ancestral traditions and culture, this is shown in the heirloom rugs they make until this day. Each piece is a work of art full of symbols inspired by the tribal daily life and ceremonies. The signs often signify femininity, fertility, and birth.
The ancient weaving techniques are still preserved until this day among the contemporary Beni Ourain artisans. They even adapted their production to smaller sizes to fit the demand.
Initially, Beni Ourain rugs were exclusively for practical use. Now, they are a means of subsistence and the witness of a rich culture.
How Beni Ourain Rugs Are Made
Every Beni Ourain rug you find in our store went through an entire construction process, from the sheep fur to an original piece of art.
During summer, villagers shepherd the Marmoucha sheep breed. Then, they shearn wool from the sheep, clean it and put it in the sun to dry.
Weavers select only the finest of raw wool, which explains the high quality of Beni Ourain rugs.
Raw wool is spun to make strings of yarn. This is done either by hand or using a wooden dowel.
This process involves several steps:
Resetting the loom to meet the desired rug dimensions and density.
- Tying knots in the weft to create the final design patterns. It takes up to three months to get a rug finished, sometimes longer. An experienced knotter can get it done faster, making between 8,000 and 12,000 knots per day.
- The final step is where the rugs are being sheared, cleaned with water and brooms, and naturally dried out in the sun.
How To Style Beni Ourain Rugs
Beni Ourain rugs became an interior design reference primarily because they combine traditional originality with the modern style. Therefore, they perfectly fit into residential and commercial projects alike.
That is to say, no matter how many decor updates and changes you make during your life, the Beni Ourain will faithfully adapt.
To help you make your choice, we selected the top three decor types for Beni Ourain rugs:
Contemporary interiors have visible clean lines, minimalist use of furniture and neutral colors.
Aria Beni Ourain rug thrives in such conditions. It brings a sleek and fresh modern touch and adds sophistication with its geometric and uncluttered motifs.
The creamy background smoothly merges with the contemporary decor, while the black patterns stand out to make a statement.
The carefree and eclectic layers of color, pattern, and texture in a bohemian room match the lived-in feel of the Arlo Beni Ourain rug. This rug features the authentic look and warmth you desire in your house.
The boho space is your window to self-expression, using vibrant colors and vintage decor, which requires extreme comfort. You can rest assured that you’ll get the maximum of comfort when you place this rug that feels like a woolen cloud under your feet.
Design Tip: Make the most of the Beni Ourain rug by teaming it with vintage Moroccan floor poufs or a matching Beni Ourain Floor Pairing.
Made in Morocco with a nordic-like design, Ziri Beni Ourain rug is the aesthetic embodiment of functionality and elegance at the same time. The rich woolen texture and minimalist patterns make an aspirational style.
In a room with light wood floors and good natural light, place the Pierre Beni Ourain rug in the middle or hang it on the wall to enjoy the Scandinavian charm.
Kinfolk is a lifestyle that values minimalism and authenticity. Hand-knotted with care and decorated with simple patterns, Colette Beni Ourain rug vividly showcases this aspect. This artisanal craft reminds you to take it slow for a clean lifestyle by resting the eye and clearing the mind.
In a room where Scandinavian, vintage, and bohemian designs are merged to form the Kinfolk, a large Rosalind Beni Ourain rug placed in the center will harmoniously tie the room together.