Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

berash (palm leaf fiber mat)
  • unknown Hawazma maker
  • berash (palm leaf fiber mat), 1983–1984
  • Where object was made: Kadugli, Kurdufān (present-day Southern Kordofan), Sudan
  • palm leaf fiber, weaving, dyeing
  • Object Length/Width: 179 x 98 cm
    Object Length/Width: 70 1/2 x 38 9/16 in
  • Museum purchase: KUEA Funds
  • Not on display
  • 2007.2785

The rectangular mat is made of woven palm leaf fibers, with ridges and stripes parallel to the long sides. It has a wide center stripe with a light natural field color with sets of attached diamonds in green and orange, creating a band of color. The space between the different colored diamonds is stripes with both colors, reminiscent of houndstooth. There appears to be four repeats of this design down the length of the mat. There is a blue-green stripe on either side of the wide center stripe, then purple, orange, purple, and orange stripes. The mat has a dark blue woven border.

It was used for sitting on the ground or decorating the interior walls of the house. The decorated berash would be used to decorate the inside of houses, and the undecorated ones were more likely used on the ground or on the outside of the house. The colored berash would only be used on the outside of a house at a marriage.