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Mauritania | Wood and leather | Early 20th Century

The rigorous decorative patterns of these mats reproduce Saharan rock drawings of very ancient origin. Typically used by nomads in the Mauritanian Sahara, these mats were made with the only available materials: palm wood and dromedary or sheepskin. They provided the best insulation from the sand and were easy to carry rolled up on the animals as the caravan moved on. A unique example of weaving that began on a corner, continued along the side and ended in width. Such a process implied great freedom of mind, far from the symmetric patterns we are used to. Dyeing would take place after weaving, using local natural colours, often renewed after long usage.