For those of you who are not yet familiar with the Beni Ouarain carpet, it seems that your lucky day is here! Discovering this Berber carpet from Morocco is always an experience filled with emotions. The Beni Ouarain Berber rug carries with it the stamp of the traditional weaving of wool carpets among the Berbers of the Middle Atlas.
It is recognizable at first glimpse, for us who are used to seeing it every day. Handling the Beni Ouarain rug on a day-to-day basis is always a pleasure, an opportunity to appreciate the natural and raw wool. This is the best quality of the Beni ourain carpet, its wool being untreated and uncolored.
The natural wool of the Beni Ouarain rug
This natural aspect is the first key to identifying a genuine Beni Ouarain rug from Morocco. The wool has kept its original color, whether it is a white wool used for the background of the rug, or a brown wool for the diamond design.
A real Beni Ouarain carpet from Morocco will never be perfectly white like the clouds can be. It will always have shades in the different shades of white wool. On the other hand, the wool having retained the fragile transparent film which covers each strand, the carpet will be shiny, even dazzlingly white, as soon as it is observed in the light of day.
If a Beni Ouarain carpet is offered to you, of a whiteness equivalent to that of white sheets, you can be sure and certain that you are in the presence of a simple imitation.
If the seller assures you that the whiteness of the wool is natural, he will probably justify himself by explaining to you, for example, that it is lamb’s wool. This is unlikely to be the case, pure lambswool rugs being extremely rare.
The handmade character of the Beni Ouarain rug
The rarity does not only come from the difficulty of obtaining lamb’s wool. It is mainly explained by the fact that lambswool is not capable, on its own, of ensuring good resistance to the carpet. It should always be mixed with tougher, tougher strands of wool from older sheep.
Berber weavers know their trade well and know how to go about making a Beni Ouarain rug designed to last. The gently hand-woven rugs retain all the charm and status of handmade work. This is easily observed by perceiving the slightly irregular layout of the diamonds of the carpet. The diamonds have not been drawn beforehand on any frame but appear as the carpet progresses.
Like the Beni Ouarain rug in the photo above, the diamonds, although relatively well formed, are not perfectly distributed over the surface of the rug. A slight shift in the arrangement of the diamonds is frequently witnessed. Comparably, a diamond may have a different size from that of its neighbor. It will be a little more flattened or on the contrary more elongated.
As you can see, you don't need to be a specialist in Berber rugs to be able to recognize a genuine Beni Ouarain Berber rug, handmade in Morocco.