Beni Ourain peoples, in the process of adjusting to the asperous conditions, have developed extremely distinctive art forms, including the beautiful and practical craft of rug making.
The towering Atlas Mountains are a demanding life environment even for the nomads. Yet, they constitute home to some roving Berber tribes that adapted to the harsh conditions and for centuries have wandered the range called Riff near Taza. Beni Ourain peoples, in the process of adjusting to the asperous conditions, have developed extremely distinctive art forms, including the beautiful and practical craft of rug making. Their style is so unique that this particular group of carpets bears the name of its makers – Beni Ourain rugs.
The 17 tribes that make up the Beni Ourain collective for generations have mostly been preoccupied with sheep herding – the source of excellent, high grade wool. It largely contributed to the quality of their textiles which was crucial for the good preservation of heat and the protection from wind and sand. Originally, these Berber rugs were used as bedspreads, blankets and covers rather than decorative elements, thus they were usually distinguished by the thick, soft and comfortable pile. However, knots have always been tied accordingly to the singular rug’s purpose which have varied along with the pile height.
Rug craftsmanship should actually be called “carftswomanship” as the vast majority of weavers have always been women. It was no different in case of Berber rugs. Skilled, dexterous and patient female hands laboriously tied knot after knot to create something that escaped the mundane schemes of reality – art. The designs of Beni Ourains are uncomplicated, nonetheless they fascinate and provide an excellent insight into the minds and souls of secluded shepherds. They incorporate elements from their personal experiences, aspects of daily life, such as birth, marriage, fertility, rural life, beliefs and spirituality. Some are supposed to provide luck, wealth or ward off evil spirits. One may notice the “loose” approach to the execution of designs which at some point may change entirely or remain seemingly unfinished. It is done on purpose to emphasize the frailty of the human kind in contrast to God who is the absolute perfection. The most typical Beni Ourain rug is characterized by an ivory or whitish background and black or brown lines that create a geometric diamond grate pattern; a diamond in the Oriental rug language is a protective motif guarding against the Evil Eye.
The special design is what really sets vintage Beni Ourains apart from other Berber carpets. While some Beni Ourain tribes applied color, most of their rugs were rendered in a two-hue palette with the predominance of off-white and deep brown shades. Until the late 20th century the dyes were exclusively of natural provenience and included, among others, henna, iron sulfate, indigo, cochineal, indigo and almond leaves. These genuine vintage rugs https://www.dorisleslieblau.com/vintage-carpet-moroccan-modernist-geometric-10×6-bb6208-rug were discovered by the mid-twentieth century designers who instantly fell in love with their simplicity and sophistication, so in line with the modernist aesthetics. Since then, Beni Ourain rugs have enjoyed a never-fading popularity which only confirms their universal, heartwarming appeal, the upmost quality and timeless elegance.