In Morocco, many Berber families earn their daily food by making carpets manually to sell to art merchants, tourists, or in local markets. These creations are Beni Ourain rugs, also called Berber carpets, and are named after the tribes from which they originated. Traditional handmade Berber carpet is vastly different from the mass-produced rugs found in the West. The latter are typically nothing more than cheap imitations that quickly lose their beautiful texture and appearance. Below are some intriguing facts about these lovely textiles and how they are made:
A Genuine Handmade Creation
The main regions where Moroccan rugs were produced for thousands of years are the plains of Marrakech and the High Atlas Mountains. The area in which the tribes lived often decided the weight and thickness of the rugs. Those living higher in the mountains where the climate is cooler produced heavier carpets than those living in the plains. The tribes women weave wall-coverings, blankets and rugs to use in their homes, and are famous for their Moroccan composition and designs.
Since the tribes were mainly isolated in their separate mountainous or rural areas, the symbolism woven into their rugs often relates exclusively to the weaver’s ancestors or immediate family. In other words, the designs are unique to each tribe and often tell the story of the tribe throughout history or recount the life of the weaver. Some of the weavers also depict prayers in their artistry or create designs with religious significance. The individual techniques of each weaver have been passed down from grandmothers, to mothers and daughters, thereby preserving this unusual and interesting craft.
All Natural Materials
The Moroccan rugs Berber tribes women weave are still made from the same materials that originally went into Beni Ourain rugs when the craft was first invented thousands of years ago. If there is a shortage of these animal products, the weavers may include other materials such as silk. However, man-made substances are never used as they are with cheap imitations. The carpets are mainly found in the tan, brown and white shades that correspond to the natural materials from which they are made, although some weavers use henna, indigo blue or saffron to dye the wool. The black in some Beni Ourain rugs comes from the black goats that are native to the region. Because they are made by hand, no two Berber rugs are exactly alike and each has its own special beauty.
Because of their intriguing characteristics, these lovely, handwoven textiles can also be used as blankets, wall hangings, or chair covers. Additionally, because they are so versatile, they can be added to essentially any room without clashing, regardless of its current decor.
The addition of a one-of-a-kind Beni Ourain to your home can only enhance its existing theme and add an interesting and unusual touch to any room where it is placed. You may wish to invest in more than one Berber rug to add flair to several areas of your dwelling. Regardless of the specific rug you select, you will be pleased with its beautiful, warm characteristics, as well as the interesting history with which it is associated. Click here for further information about Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs.