Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs are a celebration of the traditional patterns, weaves, and textiles that have been hand-woven in Morocco for over a thousand years. Historically woven by the indigenous tribes to serve utilitarian, rather than decorative, purposes, the twentieth-century saw a revival of Beni Ourain rugs that have since been widely revered in t....

In modern-day Morocco the art of rug making is still a time-honored tradition. The roots of the Beni Ourain rug can be traced back to the prehistoric cultures of the region. The nomadic tribes spent most of their lives in transit, moving with the seasons, and the rugs were constructed in accordance with the distinctive varying climates: thick, heavy piling for colder Atlas Mountain elevations, lighter weaves for the hotter Saharan desert region.

The Moroccan and Berber tribes had many uses for the rugs, among them bed coverings, sleeping mats, burial shrouds, garment wear, and saddle blankets. While the designs and patterns vary, each is distinctly unique, crafted from ancient traditions passed down from weaver to weaver. Every design carries a symbolic message or story, ranging from ancestral rites to wedding celebrations.

Beni Ourain rugs are traditionally hand-woven by women, with the tradition generally passed down from mother to daughter. The design elements often reflect the lives of the weavers themselves, such as day-to-day occasions and rituals, as well as themes of nature, fertility, life and death, and spiritual beliefs. Many traditional Beni Ourain rug weavers believe the rugs to act as natural protection against harmful spirits and misfortune, and will thus include certain "lucky charm" symbols for added reinforcement. The colors of the Beni Ourain rug vary from earthy tones to vibrant hues, with bold geometric patterns as well as simpler, more primitive layouts.

Moroccan rugs experienced widespread popularity thanks to mid-century Western designers incorporating the rugs into modern interior design aesthetics, specializing in blending the Beni Ourain rugs with more updated components. The rugs have since appealed to modern sensibilities, with a particular devotion to the rug's primitive origins and symbolism.

Older Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs are highly prized today, and both new and antique rugs are valued for their versatile beauty and flexible pricing. Incorporated into a sleek modern interior or more rustic abode, Beni Ourain rugs are ideal for the eclectic collector and those with a sensitive eye for rich cultural nuances. Each and every rug tells a story of its own, from honoring one's ancestors to celebrating a new birth, woven by artisans with deep ties to the tradition.

Owning a Beni Ourain rug is not simply a trendy of-the-moment style purchase, but a true investment in the appreciation of the art form. Handmade largely by women of the Moroccan Berber tribes, each rug can take more than a year to complete, with absolute care and attention devoted to the smallest detail. The precision and richness of the Beni Ourain rug, with interacting symbols and stories, connects the weaver to the owner in a lifelong bond.

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