Beni Ouarain rug / Teppich, ca. 1930        

The Beni Ouarain and some neighbouring Berber tribes in the northeastern Middle Atlas are the weavers of a distinctive type of large, archaic-looking, white-ground pile Berber carpet. These 'white giants' represent a direct link to the earlier weaving traditions of the Zenata Berber, and in their turn have had a fundamental influence on the development of the textiles woven by Morocco's mountain nomads.










(1) Beni Ouarain rug (Zerarda), ca. 1930, 255 x 175 cm (8' 6'' x 5' 10'')


The Beni Ouarain are a confederation of seventeen Berber tribes (*1), whose ancestors may already have been settled in the most northeasterly part of the Middle Atlas by the 9th century AD. Some trace their origin to the area of southern Tunisia, others to the northernmost part of present-day Mauritania (*2) They speak a Berber language called Ruafa, also known as Zenatiya or Thazighth (*3) Their presentday settlement area is bordered in the south and southeast by the Jebel Bou Iblane Range, and in the north by the Jebel Tazekka, Oued Inaouène and Oued Msoun; there is no such natural border in the west (*4).

The Beni Ouarain heartland has an annual rainfall similar to that of the Rif Mountains, which means that both migratory animal husbandry and settled agriculture are important (2). There have always been settlements built from stone and clay in the valleys (3), and the level of rainfall even allows for some unirrigated agriculture (*5).  However, the zone east of the Middle Atlas foothills is so arid that agriculture is possible only along the rivers, as in some areas of southern Morocco.

beni ouarain creek
(2) River valley in Ait Abd el Hamid territory
beni ouarain house
(3) painted decoration on a house in the Ait Abd el Hamid region

One part of each family used to cultivate fields in the valleys, while the others migrated with their flocks and tents to the mountains in summer, descending in winter to the hill country around Tahala or the Guercif Plateau (4) (*6).  Since the 1970s, however, the tribes have shown a strong tendency to settle. Cultivators have taken over the good lower grazing ground from the pastoralists, who have begun building permanent homes in the mountains up to a height of around 1,800 metres and are now planting winter cereals even at these heights. In these mountain regions one can nevertheless still find the ancient breed of small sheep whose excellent wool is responsible for the quality of Beni Ouarain rugs and textiles (5). 

beni ouarain tent
(4) Beni Ouarain (Beni Jelidassen) nomadic family with their tent
beni ouarain sheep
(5) A flock of the old Beni Ouarain breed of sheep grazing at the northern slopes of the Jebel bou Iblane Range. 

The Beni Ouarain pile-weaving tradition may date back as far as the tribe's arrival in their present settlement region around the turn of the last millennium. This suggestion is based on the need for these tribes to produce textiles for protection against winter cold in the highland areas. Until very recently, one group, the Beni bou Zart, continued to make loop-pile textiles called bnchgra which  are widely recognized as  precursors of pile-woven  rugs (*7).  The Beni Ouarain flatwoven textile tradition may be even older, since it  is possible to establish a clear design relationship with Tunisian textiles, pointing to a common source.
The carpets, known as tihlasine (sing. tahlast), are produced largely in the Atlas Mountains and the western regions; the tribes in the arid eastern sector only have a relatively small rug production of their own. As is true of most tribes in the Middle Atlas, the Beni Ouarain did not use carpets as floor covers, but rather as beds and bedding. This explains the loose structure of the rugs, which adjust to the shape of the body and offer effective protection against the cold.
Owing to their voluntary retreat into remote mountain regions, the Beni Ouarain tribes were not subject to urban Arab influences until well into the 20th century. It is therefore not surprising that formal similarities of design and palette are to be found not in the urban rugs of the Maghreb, but rather in rural ceramics, which have retained an archaic decorative system of black lines on a white base, as well as production methods unchanged since Neolithic times.

The classic Beni Ouarain carpet design has a network of diamonds made up of relatively fine black lines on a white (or cream) ground (6). Borders are uncommon, and even the secondary guard design elements along the sides (7) appear to be the result of external influences.

Beni Ouarain carpet / Teppich, ca. 1940          Beni Ouarain rug / Teppich, ca. 1960

(6) Beni Ouarain carpet (Oulad el Farh), ca. 1940, 355 x 220 cm (11' 10'' x 7' 4'')


(7) Beni Ouarain rug (Ait Assou), ca. 1960, 300 x 180 cm (10' x 6'), exhibited at the Musée de Marrakech during ICOC, Marrakech 2001


Because the oldest documented rugs of the Beni Ouarain and of related tribes in the northeastern Middle Atlas have extremely rich designs, one may gain the impression that their creative culture has lost its vigour during the 20th century. The carpets in the Musee Batha in Fez, those in the Musee National des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie in Paris (MAAO), as well as those illustrated by Prosper Ricard and the oldest examples shown here (8, 9), support this impression. But in the course of my field trips I have managed to document a few older fragments with much simpler designs, which suggests the parallel production of both richly decorated and more austere rugs (1, 10). The survival of more of the richly designed pieces may be due to the fact that they were considered more precious, both in their place of origin and by museum curators, and have thus been treated with greater care. 

Ait Seghrouchene carpet / Teppich, ca. 1920                         Beni Ouarain carpet / Teppich, ca. 1930

(8) Ait Seghrouchene carpet (western area, south of Fez), ca. 1920, 465 x 180 cm (15' 4'' x 6'), exhibited at the Musée de Marrakech during ICOC, Marrakech 2001 + the Paul Klee Zentrum, Bern, Switzerland, 2009 in the exhibition 'Carpet of Memory'


(10) Beni Ouarain carpet (Beni bou Zart / Ait Abd el Hamid), ca. 1930, 420 x 190 cm (14' x 6' 4'')




The warp of Beni Ouarain carpets is always Z-spun natural white wool, as are the wefts, of which there are normally between four and fifteen shoots, but occasionally up to thirty. The pile yarn is Z2S with a pile height of up to 7cm. The Berber knot is the norm, but the Beni bou Zart, Ait Assou, Zerarda and Ait Ighezrane tribes in the west, as well as the Beni Jelîdassen in the southeast, also use the symmetric knot or a mixture of both types.
The symmetric knot is tied over four, very rarely six, warps, the Berber knot over three warps, more rarely two or four. The number of knots varies from 6-10/dm vertically and from 13-18/dm horizontally; if the Berber knot is tied over two warps, this figure is correspondingly higher. One also occasionally finds pieces throughout the tribal region where a symmetric knot, twisted 90°, is wrapped around three warp threads in a similar manner to the Berber knot.
Older pieces often have several rows of knots with black and white dots which protrude from the back of the rug in rows on the weft axis. They are particularly common in the short kilim ends. These pile elements on the back are also found running parallel to the sides in Beni Jelîdassen and Oulad el Farh rugs, as well as among the neighbouring tribes to the south, the Ait Youb and Marmoucha.
Selvedges are formed from two to four warp cords, Z2-10S, and normally just wrapped by the weft shoots, as the pile almost always continues to the edge of the rug. One finds rugs throughout the tribal region with a great variety of knot configurations on the back along the sides. These are rare to the west but particularly common among the Oulad el Farh.

An old and until recently unknown weaving tradition continues in the territory of the Beni Jelîdassen, the southeasternmost tribe of the Beni Ouarain. They practice a semi-nomadic lifestyle that has been unchanged for centuries. They migrate from settlements in the eastern valleys of the north Middle Atlas to mountain pastures in the Jebel bou Iblane and Jebel bou Nsor regions and to the plains in the Moulouya Valley. There they have come into contact with the Marmoucha, whose weaving tradition is clearly reflected in the palette of Beni Jelîdassen pile-woven cushions (11).

While their carpets quite often show a relationship to those of the other Beni Ouarain tribes, a very different tradition in the shape of pile-woven cushions (known as loussada when made up as cushions and frach when opened out for use as a rug), closely related to the multicoloured carpets of the Marmoucha, survived until about the mid 20th century. There is also a connection with the Ait Youssi and the Beni Saddene, individual families of these tribes having moved to the Beni Jelîdassen region in the second half of the 19th century (*8).
Ait Youssi influence is especially obvious in the choice of filler motifs within the diamonds, and in the yellow-orange secondary colour used in addition to the black and white design scheme. A particular feature of the Beni Jelîdassen region is the use of goat hair, or a mixture of goat hair and wool, for the warps.
Rugs from the southeastern region of the Beni Ouarain that show Beni Saddene influence are extremely rare. A survey of Moroccan museums and the rug literature reveals just one piece, published by Ricard in his Corpus des tapis marocains (*9) where it was dated mid 19th century and attributed to the Marmoucha. While a similarity to Marmoucha work can certainly be seen in some of the powerful design and border elements of this example, the linear pattern and figural elements clearly speak the formal design language of the Beni Saddene.
The related piece shown here (9) were purchased in the Oulad el Farh region, which borders Beni Jelîdassen territory. It was probably woven at the turn of the century. The loose structure and the Berber knot tied over three warps clearly indicate its Beni Ouarain origin, whereas the weft of mixed white and black-brown undyed wool is normally found in Marmoucha rugs. The design of some of the filler motifs is reminiscent of early Ait Youssi weavings. The very rare figural depiction, especially that of the star garland surrounding the figures, and the division of the field into bands, show a strong Beni Saddene influence. Both the end section of the rug and the dark rows of design in the lower half of the carpet suggest an enlarged depiction of Beni Ouarain flatweave designs. Other examples of this rare and highly decorated group (28) have been executed with the help of a male master weaver ('maallem') and  show  most often relations to designs commonly  found in Marmoucha and Ait Seghrouchene carpets


 Beni Ouarain carpet / Teppich, ca. 1900

                                   beni jelidassen pillow

(9) Beni Ouarain carpet (Oulad el Farh), ca. 1900, 410 x 210 cm (13' 8'' x 7'), exhibited at the Musée de Marrakech during ICOC, Marrakech 2001




(11) Beni Ouarain pillow (Beni Jelîdassen), ca. 1940/50, 160 x 50 cm (5' 4'' x 1' 8''), exhibited at the Musée de Marrakech during ICOC, Marrakech 2001 + the 'beauté sauvage'exhibition at the BA-CA Kunstforum, Vienna, Austria, 2003


The repeated occurrence of the cross motif in Beni Jelîdassen pile weavings is striking, but it remains impossible to explain its symbolic meaning. The motif is sometimes ritually painted in henna on the back of a completed textile when it is taken off the loom (12). Crosses are also painted on the interior walls of living rooms, suggesting a powerful talismanic significance. 

beni ouarain henna symbols

(12) Beni Jelîdassen semi-nomads from the southeastern Beni Ouarain territory in the Middle Atlas use henna to daub apotropaic symbols such as crosses on the back of flatwoven covers (sachou) when they are taken from the loom.


The cultural and historical significance of Beni Jelîdassen pilewoven cushions lies above all in the likelihood that they belong to a tradition, continuing into the 20th century, closely related to that of the rugs which Ricard, in 1934, dated to the 19th century and attributed to the Marmoucha and (erroneously?) to the Beni M'Guild (*10). Most such cushions look like fragments cut from the rugs published by Ricard. It is very surprising to see such a variety of colours used by a Beni Ouarain tribe; apart from the usual white and black, we find blue, dark red, green, orange and yellow as colours of completely equal weight. The flatweaves of this tribe have a similar polychrome palette, with a significantly high proportion of blue.
The cushions were woven in panels some 40cm wide and up to 180cm long. Warp and weft almost always consist of white Z-spun wool; goat hair is rarely used in the warp. The weft may be dyed in different colours, particularly in older pieces. The pile section may consist of Berber knots, or symmetric knots, or twisted symmetric knots. The pile does not always cover the entire surface, and the weft-faced weaving is decorated with individual pile motifs or linear compositions. Warp-faced flatwoven cushions are very rare.
The Ait Youb are settled between the tribal regions of the Beni Ouarain and the Marmoucha. Their rugs have been little discussed to date (*11). The structure shows a clear relationship with Beni Ouarain rugs, though in handle they seem more like those of the Marmoucha owing to the somewhat lower number of wefts. While the pile section consists almost exclusively of Berber knots tied over three warps, the sides almost always show symmetric knotting, with black pile threads alternately visible on the front and back of the rug. Ait Youb rugs are predominantly white-ground, with yellow, red, orange and black for secondary elements. They almost invariably have multi-coloured flatwoven ends, about 15cm deep, which always include a row of pattern in the weft-substitution technique on the back of the rug.

Black-ground rugs are very rare in the Middle Atlas region. Apart from a Marmoucha piece in the Musee Batha in Fez (*12), we know of only a few Zemmour and Ait Serrouchène examples. The existence of old black-brown shawls from the Beni bou Zart region, a type which for some fifty years has been woven with a white ground, as well as the use of undyed black yarn for the weft of old Marmoucha rugs, suggests that black-ground rugs could have been more common at one time than they later became, perhaps due to a higher proportion of black sheep in the flocks.

Among the Beni bou Zart and the Zerarda in particular one can find rugs which abandon the classic diamond scheme for a minimalist design (1, 10). Zerarda pieces are sometimes noticeably smaller, between 2.5 and 3 metres in length (1). It seems justifiable to talk of a separate Zerarda stylistic subgroup, which includes relatively rare pure white carpets. When woven from the excellent silky, shiny wool typical of early Beni Ouarain rugs, these pieces are remarkable for their calm elegance.

The Beni Alaham, who do not belong to the Beni Ouarain Confederation, are settled west of the Ail Ighezrane and the Zerarda. Ricard described their rugs (*13), but they have been hardly mentioned in the literature since. Their white-ground rugs are most closely related to those of their eastern neighbours. Clear Beni Alaham characteristics are the S-spun warps and bold, striped kilim ends up to 20cm deep. Both Ricard's description and the pieces in the Musee Batha (*14) indicate that the Beni Alaham preferred smaller scale designs. The piece shown (13) was purchased in the Zerarda region, but the warp spin and the delicately structured centralised field design point to a strong Beni Alaham influence. While the relatively few known pieces of this tribe tend to be very similar, this rug is striking as a result of the weaver's decision to leaven the austere pattern by adding an element of restrained colour and a change in the rhythm of the design.  

Beni Alaham carpet / Teppich, 1940/50         














(13) Beni Alaham carpet (detail), ca. 1940/50, 420 x 195 cm (14' x 8' 6'') 


Another tribe who produced related white-ground rugs are the Ait Seghrouchène. Their present-day settlement region is divided into three sections: one to the west of the northwestern range of the Beni Ouarain; another to the southwest, between the Beni Alaham and the Ait Youssi; and a third north of the Ait Youssi, south of Fez.
Structurally, Ait Seghrouchène rugs are broadly related to those of the Beni Ouarain, though the handle tends to be somewhat firmer. Like the Beni Ouarain, they also used the Berber knot over three warps; along the sides it is usual to find knots which protrude from the back of the rug.
In general, the Ait Seghrouchène tend to weave rugs with a lattice of diamonds and inner fields densely covered with filler motifs, similar to the Ait Youssi style (*15). Secondary colours such as red, yellow, orange or even violet and blue are also used.

One may occasionally find rugs that do not fit into any of the traditional design types, although some details may be indicative of one or another group. On the rug shown (8) the row of small, toothed-diamond elements and the density of the design are implicit pointers to the Ait Seghrouchène, but it is equally possible that the Ait Assou or Beni bou Zart, two northwestern Beni Ouarain tribes, might have woven this piece. However, we know that it was sold by an Ait Seghrouchène family, so its origin is not in question.
The creative boldness of this rug and the complex change in the graphic rhythm obviously prompted Moroccan dealers to photograph the piece before selling it, and to use it as a model for new commercial production.

It might seem surprising that in addition to rugs which, in their archaic character, suggest the origins of the pile weaving tradition itself, the Beni Ouarain also produced sophisticated flatweaves. The structure of their pile rugs is based on function — the number of wefts and the high pile being essential for good insulation — and design possibilities are therefore limited. But by contrast, Beni Ouarain weavers were able to display all their technical skill in the making of women's flatwoven shawls, some of the finest and technically most demanding of Moroccan textiles. As none of the other tribes appear to have produced flatweaves of such complexity, it seems reasonable to assume that the Beni Ouarain played a central role in the textile development of the Middle Atlas nomads, and that their work may even be linked to a far more ancient tradition.
There are three distinct types of shawls or coats (arab.: handira), whose names correspond to a particular technique and design density. The finest, known as tabrdouhte, are worn only on special occasions (14). They are like a pattern book, with up to seventy closely packed decorative rows in a sophisticated weft-wrapping technique, made not only from wool, but also from cotton and - more important - from linen.

Textiles with a similar structure but with rows of design in  weft-substitution technique are called abrdouhe. This type is normally made from wool only. A version for everyday wear, similar in technique to the second type, but with a much coarser weave and fewer design elements, is known as tabbnoute. All have pile on the back to a greater or lesser degree. The design threads of the front are either carried on the back in loops to produce a cushion-like pile, or are left hanging loose, up to 15cm long, producing a pelt-like surface.

beni ouarain cape tabrdouhte

(14) Beni Ouarain (Oulad Ali / Oulad bou Ali) tabrdouhte (arab.: handira), women's flat-woven ceremonial shawl, ca. 1900, 195 x 95 cm (6' 6'' x 3' 2''), with the typical weft wrapping patterns and the linen strands on the back, coll. L. Viola, Marrakech


Also woven across the entire region are the large bags called sachou, with design elements on the front. The rather rare blankets known as hanbel are identical to these bags and only differ from them in their greater length. Smatt n'ouisse (horse saddlebags) are very rare. They are related to the saddle-bags common in the western Middle Atlas, but in palette they show similarities with Beni Ouarain abrdouhe shawls.
It is fair to say that the textile products of the Beni Ouarain remained quite untouched by foreign influences for a longer period than those of most other Moroccan tribes. Until the late 1990ies  they have been woven almost exclusively for the use of their largely self-sufficient households. But, like tribal peoples everywhere, the Beni Ouarain are the victims of rapid socio-cultural change, which has resulted in the decline or even extinction of individual forms of production. High quality flatweaves were being produced in the area until about the middle of the 20th century, but today production is highly commercialised and of much lesser quality, despite the fact that weaving remains family-based. Pile rugs are still made in relatively small numbers for domestic use, but during the past two or three decades wool quality has steadily deteriorated. The reasons for this can be found both in the switch to keeping sheep largely for their meat, and in the apparent lack of care taken in preparing the wool.
Understandably, traditional textile production has survived longer in the economically more backward regions, but today ersatz products such as acrylic blankets and foam mattresses have reached even the remotest areas by way of the souks. Thus this textile and pile-weaving tradition can only survive if there is an increased market interest, with all the well-known drawbacks in terms of quality that come with commercialisation. Since the late 1990ies therefor a commercial production of  Beni Ouarain carpets adapted in sizes to the European and American market's demands and needs has begun. Their designs most often lack of the spirit that the authentic tribal carpets of the past had been appreciated for. These pieces are being made either from genuine carpets from the 1970ies or younger that are in good or perfect condition but have less marketable designs - the regular diamond designs are then taken off and are replaced  by more marketable minimal or irregular designs - or are newly produced carpets in (most often) larger, oversize proportions. In today's market a large part of this production is - after an "antique finish" washing - still sold as being old, but declared new productions are also already on the market.

The original of this article has been published in HALI , issue 94, London , September 1997. The present version is adapted to today's knowledge in several details.

 beni ouarain carpet / teppich ca. 1950    beni ouarain carpet / teppich 1920/30

(15) Beni Ouarain carpet (probably Beni bou Zart), ca. 1950, 360 x 160 cm (11' 8'' x 5' 4'')


(16) Beni Ouarain carpet, ca. 1920/30, 440 x 190 cm (14' 6'' x 6' 4'')

beni ouarain carpet / teppich ca. 1930   beni ouarain carpet / teppich, ca. 1940/50

(17)    Beni Ouarain carpet (Oulad el Farh), ca. 1920/30, ca. 390 x 200 cm (13' x 6' 8''),  exhibited at the Musée de Marrakech at the 'beauté sauvage' exhibition during ICOC, Marrakech 2001 + during the 'beauté sauvage 2' exhibition, 2003 at the BA-CA Kunstforum, Vienna, Austria


(18) Beni Ouarain carpet (Ait Ighezrane), ca. 1940/50, 460 x 180 cm (15' 4'' x 6')



beni ouarain carpet / teppich, ca. 1900/20   beni ouarain rug / teppich, ca. 1930/40

(19) Beni Ouarain carpet (probably Beni bou Zart or Ait Abd el Hamid), ca. 1900/20, 360 x 205 cm (11' 8'' x 6' 10'')


(20) Beni Ouarain carpet (probably Ait Ighezrane or Oulad el Farh), ca. 1930/40, 330 x 185 cm (10' 10'' x 6' 2'') 

ait seghrouchene carpet / teppich, ca. 1920    beni ouarain rug / teppich, ca. 1920/30

(21) Ait Seghrouchene carpet, ca. 1920, 370 x 180 cm (12' 2'' x 6')


(22) Beni Ouarain rug, ca. 1920/30, 320 x 200 cm (10' 6'' x 6' 8'')

beni ouarain rug / teppich, ca. 1940/50    beni ouarain carpet / teppich, ca. 1950/60

(23) Beni Ouarain rug (Ait Assou or possibly Zerarda), ca. 1940/50, 240 x 145 cm (8' x 4' 10'')


(24) Beni Ouarain or Ait Seghrouchene carpet, ca. 1950/60, 485 x 190 cm (16' x 6' 4'')


beni ouarain carpet / teppich, ca. 1930   beni ouarain carpet / teppich, ca. 1920

(25) Beni Ouarain carpet (probably Beni bou Zart), ca. 1930, 415 x 175 cm (13' 8'' x 5' 10'')


(26) Beni Ouarain carpet (probably Imghilen), ca. 1920, 440 x 210 cm (14' 6'' x 7')

beni ouarain carpet / teppich, ca. 1930    beni ouarain carpet / teppich, ca. 1900/20

(27) carpet of the Ait Seghrouchene or southern Beni Ouarain  (Oulad el Farh), ca. 1930, 535 x 195 cm (17' 6'' x 6' 6'')




(28) Beni Ouarain  (Oulad el Farh) carpet, ca. 1920, 465 x 195 cm (15' 4'' x 6' 6''). executed with the help of a female master weaver ('maallema'). cf. Prosper Ricard: 'Corpus des Tapis Marocains, tome 4',  edition Geuthner, Paris 1934, plate XXXV and XXXiX

beni ouarain carpet / teppich, ca. 1900/20   beni ouarain carpet / teppich, ca. 1920/30

(29) Beni Ouarain carpet (probably Beni bou Zart or Ait Abd el Hamid), ca. 1900/20, 420 x 180 cm (13' 10'' x 6')


(30) Beni Ouarain carpet, ca. 1920/30, 380 x 200 cm (12' 6'' x 6' 8'')



The original of this article has been published in HALI , issue 94, London , September 1997.

link to the original PDF

*1.  B.G. Hoffmann, The Structure of Traditional Moroccan Society, Paris 1967, p.179; the Beni Ouarain tribes cited are: Beni bou Zart, Ait Assou, Zerarda, Imrhilen, Oulad Ali, Beni Abd el Hamid, Oulad bou Ali, Ait Ighezrane, Beni Sohan, Beni Zehna, Beni Tan, Beni Smar, Beni Zeggoute, Oulad el Farh, Ahel Telt, Ahel Taida and Beni Jelîdassen.*2.  G. Marey, 'Les Ait Jellîdassen; une tribu berbere de la confederation des Ait Warain', Hesperis, vol.9, no.l, Paris 1929, pp.108-116.
*3.  Hoffmann, op.cit., p.22.
*4. Ibid.
*5. Ibid.. p.30.
*6. Ibid.
*7.  I discussed the significance of these loop-pile weavings in my lecture on traditional Beni Ouarain textile production at the ICOC in Marrakesh (May 1995). The paper appears in the conference proceedings

M. Messaouidi / W. Stanzer (editors), ICOC catalogue, Casablanca / Lieboch, 1997, lecture Gebhart Blazek: Textiles and Carpets of the Beni Ouarain and their Sub-Tribes: Differences and Differentiations / Les textiles et les tapis des Beni Ouarain et de leurs sous-groupes: différences et délimitations / Textilien und Teppiche der Beni Ouarain und deren Untergruppen: Unterscheidungen und Abgrenzungen

*8.  Marcy, op.cit., pp.102-103.
*9. P. Ricard, 'Corpus des tapis marocains' tome 4, Paris 1934, pl.XXXV.
*10. Ibid., pls.XXXIII, XXXVII, XXXIX.
*11.  P. Ricard, 'Corpus des tapis marocains' tome 2, Paris 1926, pp.20-22; A. Khatibi & A. Amahan, From Sign to Image: The Moroccan Carpet, Casablanca 1994, p.75. Caution should be exercised in structural comparisons with the carpets in this book. The analyses are often incomplete or inaccurate. Colour references tend to be reliable.
*12.  Khatibi & Amahan, op.cit., p.167.
*13.  Prosper Ricard,  'Corpus des tapis marocains' tome 2, Paris 1926, pp.11-20.
*14.  Khatibi & Amahan, op.cit., p.144.
*15. W. Stanzer, Berber / Stammesteppiche und Textilien aus dem Königreich Marokko, Graz 1991, fig.45.

A correct transcription of the tribal confederation's name is Beni Ouarain ( neither Beni Ourain, nor Beni Quarain are correctly or commonly used terms). The tamazight language term 'Ait Ouarain' appears in literature of the period of the French protectorate but is not remembered in the region to have been commonly used in the 20th century. In German the transcription Beni Warain is also commonly used.

further bilbliography:

Prosper Ricard:
„Corpus des Tapis Marocains“, tome 1, tapis de Rabat, Paris 1923
„Corpus des Tapis Marocains“, tome 2, Tapis du Moyen Atlas, Paris 1926
„Corpus des Tapis Marocains“, tome 3, Tapis du Haut Atlas et du Haouz de Marrakech, Paris 1927
„Corpus des Tapis Marocains“, tome 4, Tapis divers, Paris 1934

Prosper Ricard / Marcel Vicaire: „Corpus des Tapis Marocains“, tome 5 / fascicule1, Rabat 1950

Wilfried Stanzer: Berber / Stammesteppiche und Textilien aus dem Königreich Marokko, Graz 1991, S. 96 ff, Beni Warain / Beni Ouarain Teppich

M. Messaouidi / W. Stanzer (editors), ICOC catalogue, Casablanca / Lieboch, 1997, lecture Gebhart Blazek: Textiles and Carpets of the Beni Ouarain and their Sub-Tribes: Differences and Differentiations / Les textiles et les tapis des Beni Ouarain et de leurs sous-groupes: différences et délimitations / Textilien und Teppiche der Beni Ouarain und deren Untergruppen: Unterscheidungen und Abgrenzungen

Kurt Rainer: Marokko mon amour / Morocco mon amour, Graz 2005

Rachel Hasson / Gebhart Blazek: Moroccan Charm, Art of the Berber Tribes, Jerusalem 2005


My special thanks to Mustapha Hansali and Abdelaziz Ryahi for all their help, knowledge and friendly co-operation in the research and preparation of this article. 

map of the Beni Ouarain territory © Gebhart Blazek

map of the Beni Ouarain territory © Gebhart Blazek

Wikipedia: Berber carpet


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