Rare Red Vintage Beni Ourain Shag Carpet Ж

Rare Red Vintage Beni Ourain Shag Carpet Ж


100% sheep wool

4 feet 9 inches X 3 feet 7 inches

This unique hand-knotted carpet in red and brown is centered around the symbol of the Amazigh, Ж. Amazigh is the name used by Moroccan Berbers to refer to themselves and their language, of which there are many tribes and dialects. The letter Ж in their alphabet corresponds to our Z and is the symbol of native pride. This movement that has grown in recent years with the Moroccan government's official recognition of their language in 2011 and its increased presence in public schools.

A rare example of a colorful Beni Ourain rug, this vintage high-pile carpet is in great condition. The years have merely softened its wool and added character to its coloration. What was once blood-crimson has faded to a monochrome rainbow of deep pinks and dusty reds. Previous washing has slightly felted the knots.

Red, in varying hues, is traditionally a dominant color in Moroccan rugs reflecting the deep red of the earth in the central Middle Atlas Mountains.

In other aspects this is a classic specimen from the Beni Ourain tribe. The two-tone design and sparse decoration exemplify their tasteful restraint. The weaver included a few rows of weft between the pile knots to allow for more texture and air to breathe. Since the weft and the warp are both yarn, this carpet is completely made of sheep's wool.

During the heyday of shag carpeting, this minimalist look was a favorite of mid-century modern designers such as Frank Loyd Wright and Le Corbusier and we have also recognized many of these rugs in the home decor photos of current magazines. The colorful variations, however, are far scarcer.

  • This object comes from an association in Fez, Morocco that benefits widowed and divorced women and promotes traditional weaving.
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