MediumFelted wool and pigments
DimensionsApproximate : 72 x 48 in. (1.8 x 1.2 m)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
LabelFelt is made by compressing hot, wet wool until the fibers interlock and form a dense, durable fabric. Because it is soft, warm and water resistant, felt has been used by nomadic cultures across Asia for thousands of years to make tents, rugs, blankets and clothes. Felt textiles like this were originally used in Mongolia as floor covers and bedding in the tents of nomadic herdsmen. In the early 20th century some of these textiles found their way to Japan, where they were used as floor mats by tea ceremony practitioners. Many of the mats that went to Japan, like this example, were decorated using a tie-dye technique that produced stylized floral or starburst patterns.