al-Hiba: Plaited Mat Makers

Date: 1960s

Reeds are harvested by men using a sickle-shaped knife, and women and children collect them into bundles. Women lay them flat and pound them until they are pliable. A plaited weft is then arranged in right angles across the flattened reeds to be used in the making of the mat. These mats can be used on floors as mats covered with fabric, but also as roofs, full floors, fences, and storage containers. Making them is a skill possessed by most adults in the Miʾdan villages. See also: Weaver; Cord and Twine Maker; Maker of Woven Mats; Maker of Plaited Basket; Maker of Wrapped Coil Baskets.

Citation: Ochsenschlager, Edward. Iraq’s Marsh Arabs in the Garden of Eden (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2004), p. 130.