Moroccan Berber and Beni Ourain Rugs - The Atlas Mountain Rug

Moroccan Berber and Beni Ourain Rugs

There are few traditions that stand the true test of time, but the production of Moroccan Berber rugs has endured and become one of the most popular types of home decor today. Moroccan Berber carpets are uniquely handwoven rugs created by the Berber tribes, particularly the Beni Ourain tribe, of North Africa and the Sahara.

The rich history of Berber and Beni Ourain rugs dates all the way back to the Paleolithic Era. Traditionally made of 100 percent wool, modern rugs can also be made with nylon and Olefin fiber. Each rug is handmade, and often homemade, in a variety of colors and intricate designs. Most major cities actually have signature designs and styles that represent that city.

Beni Ourain rugs typically are undyed and feature simple geometric designs or symbols. An ancient breed of sheep indigenous to the Atlas Mountains where the Beni Ourain live traditionally provides the wool for their unique rugs. Since the rugs are typically made by women, the designs often represent aspects of their lives like motherhood, pregnancy, and femininity. Almost all weavers of Berber rugs tend to not have any sort of artistic training, and the skills and methods of making the rugs is passed down through women in each family.

Berber rugs in Morocco have many uses. Berber tribes use the rugs as bed covers as well as sleeping mats. They make sturdy saddle blankets as well. Some are even used as clothing accessories or burial shrouds for the dead. They can be made to be very thick with a high pile, making them warm coverings for life in the cold Atlas Mountains. Alternatively, they can be made thin with a light pile for protection from the harsh Sahara Desert. When used as a part of modern home decor, Berber rugs can be used for full room carpets or area rugs. The simple elegance of the rugs is appealing, and often designers will pair Berber rugs with modernist furniture to give a room a subtle contrast between modern and ancient looks.

Due to their tight knotted construction, Berber rugs are very durable and can handle years of foot traffic. Full room carpets are generally inexpensive and are highly stain-resistant. Their unique designs can add color and detail to any room. For those who are into a more minimalistic look, the Beni Ourain rugs are usually white with black designs on them. For those concerned about keeping their decor as natural as possible, Beni Ourain rugs are usually made of completely natural wool fibers.

Berber rugs are quickly becoming a popular choice for modern home decor. Their versatility and durability attract those with a practical sense of interior design. Homeowners looking to add a splash of subtle color will enjoy the interesting designs.