Hand-woven from slender reed and fine strips of camel leather, Taureg mats from Mauratania are traditionally crafted by women as floor and wall coverings for their desert tents. Beautifully adorned with same bold geometric designs that are etched into the Tuareg tribe’s silver jewelry, the ornamental diamond and cross motifs symbolize protection from the evil eye. The Tuareg are descended from the Imazighen of the Atlas Mountains, and the magical design language seamlessly passes through generations of semi-nomadic weavers.
The journey from Mauratania to Morocco stretches over a thousand miles across the Western Sahara. The Taureg merchants wrapped in indigo garb and laden with sacks of silver jewelry, teapots, and rolled reed mats, trek by camel caravan across the desert sands. They have traveled to Morocco for centuries to trade exotic wares. As they ride under the hot sun, the natural indigo dye from their protective clothing dyes their skin a mysterious hue. Their destination is Marrakech, and when they enter the gates of the rose walled city, the news of the arrival of the blue people spreads through the medina. The funduq, an ancient Islamic commerce center, is where they unload their saddle bags, display their treasures, and meet with buyers over a glass of sugared mint tea.
Experienced design hunters in Marrakech, know that Tuareg Mats may be found rolled up in a dark, cool corner in a crumbling Funduq near Jemaa el-Fnaa, crammed with antique and junk dealers selling African jewelry, artifacts, and Fez embroidery. Tuareg Mats from Mauratania are an intriguing substitute for English rush matting and sisal, seagrass or jute rugs. Stunning on marble, stone or French parquet floors, the organic texture pleases against a hard smooth surface. Sought after by interior designers who love bohemian style, Tuareg mats can be mixed with traditional and modern furniture especially if the colors in the room are light and bright like Villa Mabrouka, Yves Saint Laurent’s last home in Tangiers. Vintage Tuareg mats cover the floors while large scale chintz prints by Rose Cummings cover the furniture. When Jacques Grange, YSL’s interior decorator, included Tuareg Mats in Villa Mabrouka, in a perfect balance of traditional, modern, and bohemian style, the design world took notice.
We’re pleased to now present this special collection here and at Market Stalls in the Boston Design Center.
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