Vintage Saharan Tuareg Leather and Reed Rug

Circa 1900
Sahara Desert, Mauritania, Morocco
Natural reed and leather.
366 cm x 190 cm
12'0" x 6'2"

Weavings such as this one were used by the Tuareg tribes located between Mauritania and Morocco as floor coverings during their nomadic life around the Sahara desert, either within the tent or to cover vast landscape of sand surrounding their encampments. The designs are often based on their textile iconography, with star and cross-like devices alternating with geometric totemic-like figures of an abstract nature – typical of other forms of African art. On this reed carpet the field is almost entirely covered with camel leather, which is then painted in areas in order to give detail to the pattern. The fineness and density of embroidery seen here is representative of the highest level for such a type.

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