Handmade Beni Ourain rugs and their history

Beni Ouarain rugs are currently the most popular rugs from Morocco. The hand-woven rugs are easily recognised by their white, creamy colour and black (often checked) patterns. In addition, the rugs often have fringes on the short sides. Beni Ouarain rugs are currently very common in modern, bohemian and Scandinavian interiors. They are made of 100% sheep’s wool and are 100% undyed. Perfect for those who love handmade and natural products!

How is a rug made?

Within the Beni Ouarain tribe, it is traditional for women to teach their daughters the craft of weaving from an early age. Using looms, they make rugs that are sometimes more than 2 metres wide and 3.5 metres long. Not surprisingly, weaving a rug often takes more than a month, and a rug sometimes contains more than a million knots! After a rug is woven, it is washed with a natural soap and then sun-dried. This process results in rugs that are wonderfully soft and fluffy to the touch. The beauty of Beni Ouarain rugs is that the weavers often incorporate symbols into the rugs that fit their own lives or values. For example, you can see symbols of births, marriages or religion reflected in the rugs.

The history of Beni Ouarain

Traditional Beni Ouarain rugs are made in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, by the Beni Ouarain tribe. For centuries, they have been making woollen rugs on traditional looms, using the wool of sheep from the Atlas region. The sheep that live in the Atlas region are generally somewhat smaller than those we know in Europe. Also, the wool from these sheep has an excellent quality, which makes the Beni Ouarain carpets look so luxurious.

Originally, Beni Ouarain rugs were made to provide warmth during the cold winters in the mountains. The woollen ‘blanket’ served as a comfortable bedding to lie under. In summer, people often turned the rugs over so that they could lie óon the bottom of the rug, which was nice and cool. Today, Beni Ouarain rugs are also used in Morocco simply for decoration.

Moroccan woman weaving a rug

How do I recognise a Beni Ouarain rug?

Since the 19th century, we have seen the Beni Ouarain rugs increasingly appear in Western interiors. The rugs are easily recognised by their white, cream-like colour and contrasting dark geometric patterns. The most recognisable is the Beni Ourain with a check pattern, but other motifs also fall under Beni Ouarain. Nowadays, you also have many Beni Ouarain replicas at big home furnishing shops. However, these do not live up to the luxury of a real handmade rug.

Moroccan rugs

The Beni Ouarain rugs are perfect for any interior! The rugs are handmade, warm and unique. A real eye-catcher for your home. Besides these rugs, you will also find other unique rugs in our range, such as Azilal rugs, Boujaad rugs and many more. Would you like to have a unique Moroccan item in your home? Check out our full range of handmade Moroccan products!

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Diede Coppens

Diede coppens