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From The Atlas Mountains - The Moroccan Berber Rug

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Deep in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains resides the Beni Ourain Tribe who hand weave beautiful one-of-a-kind rugs. They are a nomadic tribe, moving from one part of the mountains to another. The Beni Ourain tribe are a people of North Africa who settled in Morocco before the 7th century. There are 17 different Berber tribes that make up the Beni Ourain "tribe."

High in the mountains they raise sheep who produce an excellent grade of wool. These sheep are an ancient breed, small in size and live exclusively in the Atlas Mountains. The tribe travels as needed for the sheep to have new areas to graze.

The Moroccan Beni Ourain rug, made for the past 14 centuries has always been inspired by tribal ceremonies and symbolism. Each rug is a beautiful one-of-a-kind masterpiece and primarily created by the Berber women.

The women choose an actual event from their own personal lives to depict on the rugs. They incorporate designs into their rugs that represent spirituality and their beliefs. Sometimes natural occurrences such as fertility, birth and seasonal happenings are woven into the fabric. The rugs can also have a deep thick pile or a more shallow pile depending on the type of knots that are used. Some of the tribe used to believe that the rugs could ward off evil spirits. They wove lucky symbols into their designs so the tribe would experience prosperity and good karma.

Vintage Beni Ourain rugs were neutral in color with the abstract geometric designs being made from the black hair of goats that also roamed the Atlas Mountains. Some of today's rugs are created with brightly coloured accents. The natural fibers are dyed with plants that are all readily available on the mountain top; like figs, henna, tea leaves, various roots and pomegranate.

Each weaver creates her hand knotted rug according to her own choice of color palette, beliefs she has and special happenings from her own life experiences. She decides the design and colors she will use as the rug is woven. The Beni Ourain rugs may take many months to years to be completed.

In today's world the Beni Ourain rugs are more popular than ever. They offer a beautiful accent to a room which is decorated in a modern minimalistic manner. However, the clean geometric patterns in various hues are striking in most any setting.

With proper care, because of the excellent quality of these Beni Ourain rugs, they can last a lifetime and make a wonderful family heirloom to be handed down from generation to generation.

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