- Mauritania, Early 20th century
- Wood and leather
- 368 x 230 cm
The formal restraint of the patterns and the total lack of ornamentation – evocative of desert petroglyphs – show the archaic nobility and extraordinary modernity of the art created by the nomadic Mauri tribes. The mats from Mauritania, made from the only materials available in the Sahara – wood from oasis palms and dromedary hide or sheepskin – were the sole flooring to be found in the desert for centuries. Incredibly sturdy, due to the hardness of the wood, and providing good insulation for cold Saharan nights, they were perfectly suited to the nomadic lifestyle’s prime requisite of transportability, since they could be rolled up and lashed to the animal’s flank for travel.
Courtesy of Altai