Beni Ourain Great White Rug

   Atlas Mountains Carpet, Beni Ourain people(detail)
  Atlas Mountains Carpet, Beni Ourain people (detail)

Weavers from the Beni Ourain tribe high in the atlas mountains of Morocco exemplify the phrase, “weavers weave what they know.” They do so by translating their natural surroundings into notable abstract designs.  Mountains become inverted V’s, rivers and tributaries become squiggly lines, and trees become upside down arrow quivers. When people and animals appear, they usually resemble stick figures. It is a vocabulary well known in the textile world, and it is all rendered in black and white on rugs famously called giant whites – a reflection of their sheer size and dominant white background color.

Fossilized Ammonite  
While the border of this carpet displays traditional geometric patterns by the Beni Ourain, the symbols woven inside tell a very unique story  

This week’s New Arrival features a classic giant white; however, its design is completely uncommon. Look closely and you will not see mountains, rivers, trees or people. Instead, two new designs make an appearance – three sided squares that can be interpreted as homes or shelters, and colorful rectangular boxes that have been identified as televisions. Could it be the weaver who wove this rug was translating a relatively new and accepted part of their domestic landscape; and if so, was really identifying another way we are all connected, whether we live in the heart of a city or high atop a mountain?

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This Atlas Mountains Carpet woven by the Beni Ourain people is part of a much larger collection