Recently, we have been importing and selling an enormous amount of Beni Ourain style rugs. These wonderfully versatile carpets fit into so many different decors. Their simple geometric designs and the neutral colors are perfect compliments to modern and mid-century modern furniture.
But first, some background on these Beni Ourian rugs. Beni Ourain rugs are named for the tribal Berber weavers of the middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Beni Ourain rugs were woven with thick long shaggy pile. These rugs were actually used as shawls and as bedding to insulate against the Atlas Mountains cold where temperatures can drop to well below freezing. These were utilitarian textiles that were not made for our western interiors. Because of the primitive and portable looms that were used, the sizes tended to remain very narrow and long. Primarily only natural undyed wool was used in these rugs with natural shades of ivory and brown or black. The designs in these rugs were very basic and abstracted line art. Some of the motifs are clearly derived from the talismanic shapes that occur in Berber tattoos.
Like other indigenous art, the art of the Beni Ourain carpet was “discovered” by a western market that in the 20th century became fascinated with abstract form and minimalist designs. Many early modernist masters, such as Matisse, Miro and others, found great inspiration from studying tribal art of Africa including Moroccan rugs and textiles.
And in recent years, with a resurgence of interest in mid-century and modernist design, Beni Ourain rugs have again emerged to captivate decorators and designers.
Our Beni Ourain style carpets are made in India and Afghanistan. Some are made with all natural un-dyed wool. But some of our Beni Ourain collection is made with rugs dyed in rich natural dyes. Here’s a small selection of the rugs that we currently carry. Stop by the shop to check out our full collection.