Vintage Beni Ouarain Berber Rug

Circa 1930
Northeastern Middle Atlas, Morocco
383 cm x 190 cm
12'6" 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 composed of a series of horizontal compartments each containing a chain of half lozenges. The result looks like a knotted rendition of cracked ice, as the half lozenges don’t match each other precisely in symmetry. It is one of the earliest Beni Ouarain carpets on the market, with a wonderful surface patina and with multiple and irregularly number of weft shoots, visible on the very old back. A piece that is both a collector’s item as well as a genius work of nomadic design.

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