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What Is A Beni Ourain Rug?

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Beni Ourain Rug

The name of Beni Ourain refers to the 17 different Berber tribes native to the Atlas Mountains. Primarily farmers and sheep herders, the sheep of the tribes produce superior grade wool that is then used to weave these beautiful rugs. Beni rugs were originally used as blankets and bedspreads to keep the nomadic tribesmen warm while moving through the elevated mountain terrain. The loose structure of the rugs conformed easily to the wearer's body to protect against harsh elements. Today Beni Ourain rugs are largely enjoyed as both interior works of art and long lasting household floor coverings.

Women are the primary artisans in the rug weaving process. Incorporating design elements inspired by popular legends as well as personal experiences, the rugs also depict elements of sacred events such as marriage, nature, birth and fertility, as well as reflections on a tribe's spiritual beliefs. Many tribal artisans believe the rugs to contain powerful charms that will protect against evil spirits. For that reason, rug weavers make sure to weave special symbols and talismans into the design work to invoke prosperity and good luck.

Although the style and patterns of Beni Ourain rugs vary, each rug generally contains a geometric design of brown or black lines that form an abstract image or shape. Most of the rugs will not employ a border, and fringe may or may not be utilized, or only used at the ends of the rug.

While the background of a beni rug is usually cream or white, occasional colors for the rugs are selected based on each tribe's preferences. Natural dyes, which have been used right up through the 20th century, include chochineal, almond, iron sulfate, indigo, and henna. Truly authentic Beni Ourain rugs will not deviate from these organic components, and painstaking measures are taken to preserve the time-honored process of weaving and dying. The knots in a beni rug are uniquely specific to the weaver's purpose, and the piling can be deep or shallow depending on the rug's intended use.

Beni Ourain rugs experienced a popular revival and demand in the latter half of the 20th century due to their appealing design work and unpretentious sophistication. Many design experts claim that the rugs gave way to the modernist style still enjoyed in homes today. Authentic beni rugs are not mass produced, and therefore no two are like. Woven with precise skill and craftsmanship, the rugs are designed to last a lifetime and withstand even the toughest of wear.

Today the demand for Beni Ourain rugs is higher than ever, and many manufacturers are struggling to keep up. Due to their rich history and overwhelming beauty, the rugs have been widely sought after by collectors, historians, and homemakers the world over. Their unique and largely unaltered method of production, as well as unrivaled quality, make beni rugs so much more than casual purchases, but true heirloom pieces intended to be enjoyed for generations to come. Signifying beauty, durability, and protection, these rugs will look after your home and family in all the ways the tribes intended.


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