Vintage Tuareg rug from Mauritania, made from dwarf palm tree fibres and hand-woven with goat-skin leather stripes.
Dimensions: 4.6M X 3 M)
Tuareg mats are woven from palms and reeds then bound with goat skin. Featuring Berber and tribal symbols in leather, these mats are all completely individual in design and made by women who interestingly do not wear the veil in Tuareg society. It is the men who wear the veil despite the fact that Islam is the predominant religion among the Tuareg people. The mats are used in tents inhabited by the Tuaregs who worked the land as opposed to those who traded the lucrative trans Saharan trade routes.
Just as the Berber Rug with its geometric designs has influenced 20th century design and interiors, the Tuareg mat with its earthy tones and powerful symbols has also been used in a variety of post-modern and traditional interiors. They are certainly rarer and much harder to copy. Sadly these mats are increasing harder to find because the people who would have made them and been given them as matrimonial presents are increasingly moving to the cities to live.
The Tuareg inhabit the Saharan regions of North Africa – Niger, Mali, Libya, Algeria and Burkina Faso. Tuareg is an Arabic term meaning abandoned by God. They call themselves Imohag, translated as free men. No one knows the true origin of the Tuareg, where they came from or when they arrived in the Sahara. Reputedly of Berber descent, the language of the Tuareg is Tamachek, with their own script known as Tifinagh, thought to have ancient Libyan roots. Their numbers are unclear, but estimates run between 300,000 and 1 million. The Tuareg were recorded by the Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th Century BC