Iconic Antique Beni Ouarain Berber Rug

Circa 1920
Beni Ouarain, Morocco
440 cm x 190 cm
14'5" x 6'2"

The Beni Ouarain confederation is composed of seventeen tribes inhabiting the high mountain region of the northeastern Middle Atlas. Their rugs differ from other Berber weavings in that they are woven almost exclusively on an ivory background and decorated with abstract geometric motifs in undyed natural brown/black wool. The pattern is typically composed of an all-over grid of lozenges with little or no variation. The present example shows an extremely unusual design by any standards, where the pattern is divided in three sections with considerable variation in between. Published many years ago as part of an important Austrian private collection, it can be considered iconic because it served as a model for countless contemporary reproductions woven in Morocco. It is one of the earliest Beni Ouarain carpets on the market, and this coupled to its unique almost ‘calligraphic’ design allows us to safely consider it a piece of Museum quality.

K. Rainer, 'Morocco Mon Amour', Graz 2005, p. 124.

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