Rugs have a rich history embroidered into their designs—and each piece often goes through quite a journey before they make it into any home as an intricate decorating item. Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs are slowly gaining attention, with people finding ways to source these coveted rugs directly from Moroccan cities. While traditionally made high up in the mountains before being brought down to these cities for sale, some stages of creating the Beni Ourain rugs have been changed.
Here’s everything you need to know about how these prized carpets are made and what makes them so special.
Origins on the Mountainside
The materials for this rug are first acquired by villagers who tend to their sheep by the mountainside. After shearing the sheep when it’s due, the finest wool is separated from the pile. Softer fleece will be mixed with coarser wool to get the right texture. Anywhere between 50 to 100 sheep is needed for one standard sized 8 x 10 Beni Ourain rug, which is then cleaned using Beldi soap in mountain streams.
The women from the village take charge of hand-spinning the wool into yarn of varying thicknesses. Depending on the design, the natural cream color may be dyed using flora and other spices before it is set on the loom with necessary dimensions. They produce thousands of intricately designed rugs, each with its own unique characteristics.
Charm in Imperfections
Given that these rugs are made by hand, some mistakes will inevitably be present in the patterns. However, rather than reducing the rug’s value, the charm added by these unique imperfections adds even more value to it, being referred to by the locals as ‘the charm of the hand.’ This means that no two Beni Ourain rugs will ever be exactly alike—allowing collectors an opportunity to own a truly one of a kind piece.
The Experience of Purchasing a Beni Ourain Rug
One of the most exciting parts about acquiring a Beni Ourain rug is the chance that collectors might snag a vintage piece.
All rugs are handwoven with various characteristics. Some are plain and flat, while others are thicker with multicolored patterns, each its own unique design. There are thousands of rugs to explore, from High and Middle Atlas tribal designs to Haouz and Rbati Arab designs. You can even have tea and discuss the different options you have while you explore.
The entire haggling process is typically time-consuming, taking several hours at a time for a single rug. Usually, the customer will need to compromise and settle on a certain aspect, whether that’s the price, the rug’s pattern, its size, or maybe even the color combinations.
Traditional Moroccan Rugs in the Digital World
Finding just the right Moroccan rug that suits your taste can be done with a reputable online supplier that can show you the available choices as they come. Some suppliers have started allowing their customers to design their own rugs, but keeping with tradition preserves the value of the rugs you buy from sellers that decide to keep the designs as they are. Experiencing part of the age-old charm online is one of the easiest ways to acquire a beautiful and exotic piece of art from a different culture—without the stress of haggling!
Here at Atlas Weavers, we supply rugs with unique and exceptional quality, woven by generations of women from Moroccan communities. We pride ourselves on preserving age-old traditions by using native techniques and materials. Shop for our Beni Ourain rugs and our other collections today!