Marrakech, exotic home of the Kasbah and the kind of colourful streets often seen in movies…it’s a magnetic and magical place with a fascinating history and some of the most stunning folk art and craft that you’ll ever see.
This amazingly beautiful place is not only stunning visually but also historically fascinating and offers the kind of goods for sale that make those who love colour and texture desperate to go on a shopping spree!
Many people wax lyrical about the stunning Beni Ouarain carpets and rugs which are to be found in this part of the world…and with good reason!
These carpets are some of the softest, most stunning pieces of textile art that you’ll ever come across so it is of no wonder that many people covet them
What is the history of Beni Ouarain Carpets?
The carpets are traditionally made by hand by the Beni Ouarain people of North Africa and feature natural white wool with black or brown geometric patterns woven into the background.
They are simple and well-made thanks to a long history of their manufacture which has been passed down the generations.
Traditionally used by families for sitting and sleeping on, they are now coveted by those in the Western World who appreciate their style and artistic designs.
Where can I find vintage Beni Ouarain Carpets?
A trip to your nearest Kasbah may yield results…talking to local dealers is tricky as they will often attempt to sell you a more modern equivalent but if you enquire of as many people as possible, it may be possible to source some genuine pieces.
In Marrakech it is understood that bartering is the norm…it’s a very sociable pastime though with much friendly banter and tea drinking!
If you want a bargain, remain firm but be flexible…these rugs and carpets are works of art and it is worth paying a little more if you have fallen in love with one! Respect the vendors as they have to make a living and they’re not ignorant of the desirability of the carpets and rugs which they sell.
How do I get it back home?
The Moroccan postal system is very reliable and once you have purchased your Beni Ouarain carpet it will be wrapped up ready for delivery.
Arrange for a tracked delivery where possible, it’s not worth saving on postage costs when you have a valuable rug to care for!
Cleaning your vintage Beni Ouarain Carpet
If you purchase an original Beni Ouarain piece, then it is very likely that it will need cleaning. You can of course take it to a professional who will shampoo the wool with the correct cleaning agents, but if you want to do it yourself then be sure to follow instructions on any cleaners which you buy…wool is delicate and prone to shrinking when treated badly!
A good tip for prolonging the life of these marvellously soft rugs is to turn them over periodically. The reverse of Beni Ouarain carpets is often just as beautiful as the front and you will help the rug to wear evenly if you flip it over every few months.
Beni Ouarain carpets are now extremely desirable, especially vintage examples which are getting harder to locate. If you are lucky enough to own an older example take every precaution to prolong its life in order that future generations may enjoy the beauty of it.
Looking for vintage examples is a difficult process especially as dealers have already got their foot in the door…but if you are polite and insistent…and willing to pay, you will be able to locate at least one fine example of these special carpets.
- License: Creative Commons image source
By Alan, a keen travel writer – if you are thinking of travelling to Marrakech, click here for discounted flights.