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Beni Ourain: The Berber Rug of Morocco

Nowadays, there is no interior design magazine that does not have a Beni Ourain rug in one of
its articles.

As icons of decoration, they are timeless pieces full of tradition, authenticity and history that fit
any decorative style. The Beni Ourain rugs are one of the best Berber rugs and each and every
one of them is subtly different.

Also Read: How to Infuse Moroccan Elements to Your Decor

via Pinterest

When were the Beni Ourain rugs introduced into the world of interior design?

The Beni Ourain rugs were introduced by great architects between 1920 and 1930 such as Frank
Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, Alvar Aalto and Le Corbusier. They created large spaces including
these minimalist pieces.

These “White Giant”, as Henri Matisse called them, are created by women of the Beni Ourain
tribe in the Moroccan Middle Atlas in the region of Taza-Al Hoceima.

Their creators, weave drawings that arise spontaneously to transmit experiential stories such as
the celebration of a wedding or birth. An ode to silent writing.

About the Middle Atlas Region

Morocco is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes. Morocco’s Middle Atlas mountain
range is home to the Berber people, and they have been weaving their tribal clothes for
centuries. These hand-made textiles are prized by travelers looking to take home unique
souvenirs from their adventures in North Africa.

The Moroccan Middle Atlas Mountain Range is a popular tourist destination for those who are
looking to escape the heat of the Sahara Desert.

This beautiful region offers fresh air and lush greenery, as well as spectacular mountain views.

Vintage Beni Ourain Rugs

Beni Ourain vintage rugs are woven from Moroccan Middle Atlas sheep’s wool on vertical
wooden looms that are entirely handmade. These vintage rugs have been carefully and proudly
made for own, family use.

They are traditionally used as mattresses and/or blankets to keep warm in the cold winter
months. These antique pieces present a rich Berber symbolism, spontaneous art, which with
the passage of time has become more minimalist.

Beni Ourain’s vintage rug designs have simple, irregular line graphics in black or brown and
diamond-shaped motifs. The measurements of the antique pieces have a maximum width of
2.20 meters. They can be more than 4 meters long. They tend to be thick and very thick. The
height of the wool can be 2.5 to 4 cm.

The vintage Beni Ourain rugs have a characteristic golden colour that they have acquired over
time. It can happen that the wool is worn out in some areas of the rug. This is because it has
been a frequent area of passage.

Sometimes we find areas where the colour has decreased in intensity in very specific areas due
to the effect of direct sunlight or we even find traces of wax. These are signs of use, signs of a
rug with a history.

In the Beni Ourain vintage rugs, it can be seen that some parts have been restored in such a
subtle way, that at first sight you will not even notice. The use and the time passed have
created a new work.

Vintage Beni Ourain rugs are not easy to find, they are becoming increasingly scarce. Some of
the rugs you find are in excellent condition, but this is because they have been kept as wedding
gifts, for family events or because they have been little used.

Contemporary Beni Ourain Rugs

The contemporary Beni Ourain rugs are new rugs that share the same values as the traditional
Beni Ourain rugs in technique and materials. Created with modern designs, they are hand
woven with traditional Berber techniques and with superior quality wool.

These pieces are contemporary in design and size compared to the older ones. The
contemporary or new Beni Ourain rugs present typical irregularities of the handmade weaving
process, this peculiarity makes each one of them unique.


The Beni Ourain rug is one of the most valued and cherished rugs in Morocco. If you’re looking
for an authentic piece of decoration with a history rooted deep in tradition, then this may be
just what you need!

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