Vintage Beni Ouarain Berber Rug

Circa 1920
Northeastern Middle Atlas, Morocco
305 cm x 180 cm
10'0" x 5'10"

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 with an ivory background and decorated with abstract geometric motifs of undyed natural wool. It is one of the most refined expressions of the little known tribal textile art of Morocco.This early example is woven in the loop-pile technique, which is an early form of tribal weaving which preceded the cut-loop pile, namely what we today call pile carpets. It has the very unusual feature of having a pattern that is interrupted in the middle. This design arrangement reminds me of that on early Anatolian kilims with open fields and decorated end panels, which were known to be used as saddle covers for camels. This rug is an authentic tribal object of great lineage. It is a witness of a millennial tradition of tribal pile weaving.

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