Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Monday, April 4, 2011 4:56 PM EDT
Well, you guys know your rugs! Almost exactly twice as many of you chose the correct answer to last Monday's quiz, asking which of these two rugs is more expensive....
Beni Ouarain rug; Persian rug
The correct answer is A (left), a vintage (c. 1960s) Moroccan Beni Ouarain rug, priced at $1925 USD. The rug on the right, B, is a vintage (c. 1970s) Persian/Iranian, priced at approx. $470 CAN. Though (as demonstrated by the scuffle in the comments beneath last Monday's quiz post) neither rug is necessarily to everyone's taste, Morocco has been a perennial favourite among global style influences, and Beni Ouarain rugs have been heavily coveted since the 1930s. They are counted among the top ten must-haves of all time for decor aficionados and designers such as Jonathan Adler, whose furnishings look smashing next to the Beni rugs at the Parker hotels in Palm Springs and New York City.
Patio room at the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs, with Jonathan Adler furniture and Beni Ouarain rug.
These rugs, a.k.a 'white giants', are the work of the Beni Ouarain Berber tribes (Moroccan nomadic peoples) of the Middle Atlas mountains and plains of Morocco, whose ancestry and textile work may be traced back to 9th century AD. These rugs are typically white or cream with an irregular diamond pattern rendered in fine black lines, and are woven with a soft pile using wool from an ancient breed of mountain sheep, only bred and tended to by the Beni Ouarain tribes.
Room at Peacock Pavilions by Maryam Montague, Marrakesh, Morocco.
The Beni Ouarain rug of last Monday's qiuz is for sale directly from Marrakesh by Maryam Montague, a Marrakesh boutique retreat owner and long-time Moroccan crafts dealer, who is one of North America's most trusted sources of Beni Ouarain rugs. They are rare and hard to find in North America, hunted by dealers and sold at typically three times the price of what you see above. Maryam sells her wares to clients worldwide via her website and Flickr gallery, and in fact, my colleague and I have one of her rugs en route right now to a downtown Toronto condo! Cannot wait to unroll it!
Maryam Montague (left) and her boutique retreat Peacock Pavilions were featured on an episode of House Hunters International.
By the way, Maryam will be writing a rug buying guide for HGTV.ca! She is an unofficial champion of Moroccan style and decor, and is in the process of writing a book on how to decorate with Moroccan style, which I will make sure to get a copy of for the blog.