September 01, 2016
Mats from the nomadic tribes of the Sahara desert have wandered all the way to New York’s prestigious 740 Park Avenue. In this interior, architect to the stars Peter Marino has used the stark elegance of these mats, woven by women of the African desert, to great effect.
The women who wove them used convenient materials: palm, reeds and camel or goat leather. They decorated them with powerful symbols. The largest and most durable mats of high-ranking tribespeople were made with the hard midribs of massive raffia palm leaves, held together and decorated with strips of camel leather. They were sometimes painted.
In the Tuareg world, mats are used as flooring and bedding. Traditionally, a tent is part of a woman’s dowry. She can eject her husband if he displeases her.