Best Moroccan Rugs to Have in the Home

Moroccan Carpets

beni ourain rugs

Beni Ourain rugs are named after the region in Morocco where they originated. The word Beni Ourain is actually the tribal name of all the different Berber tribes who inhabit the Atlas Mountains. So any rug crafted by any of the many Berber tribes is usually a Beni Ourain tribal rug. This is in direct contrast to what many dealers from outside the country would have you believe as they (again mistakenly) believe the word Beni means “feathery”.

Beni Ourain rugs are made by the Beni Ourain tribe which is the traditional rural tribe of Morocco. They use traditional weaving techniques influenced from the derby style of weaving found in North Africa, although their art has greatly changed during the past few centuries. Beni Ourain area is located between Tangiers and Marrakech. In the central area, there are still hundreds of villages along the Atlas Mountains where people still follow their own cultural traditions.

Traditionally Beni Ourain rugs are hand woven and take over 20 years to produce. These rugs are unique in that each color is represented by a different fiber. Many people mistakenly believe that this means the rugs are actually dyed but it is just the way the Moroccans do things. As in any country with its own native culture, there can be many different ways of doing things, so a lot of variations exist within the Beni Ourain tradition. Two different Berber tribes, the Beni Ourain and Beni Zaer, make up the major portion of the population which uses different Berber tribal rugs throughout Morocco.

Wool is the main natural fiber used. This makes it easy to create wools such as jute, silk, and even Moroccan bound rugs often called zahedeen. Jute is easily worked and has very good insulating properties. The drawback of using jute is that it has a tendency to wick moisture from the air which makes it vulnerable to mold. When the wool is dipped into a liquid solution, it takes on a shiny luster that can only be accomplished by spinning the wool. This process is known as shear.

The Beni Ourain Berber tribe makes both fine wool and fine-wool cotton rugs, which are often dyed to match the Beni Ourain rugs in color. Many of the rugs made by this tribe have very fine and intricate woven patterns. The wools they produce are noted for being long-lasting. Some also have semi-precious stones and beads woven into their fine wool carpets.

The Beni Ourain tribe is located in Morocco near the Atlas Mountains, where the foothills of the Atlas divide the two countries. The terrain is arid and there are only a few crops, mainly olives and dates, grown on the land. This makes farming difficult and Berber carpets are known for their resilience to the arid climate. The Berber people used their knowledge of plant and animal life to make their rugs durable to the arid conditions and resistant to mold and mildew. The colors of these rugs range from yellows to dark browns depending on the area of Morocco, where the rug is found.