Mats have played an essential role in human civilization for thousands of years. They offer comfort, insulation, and a way for people to express themselves artistically. Mats have come a long way, from their earliest beginnings in prehistoric times to the current variations. The story of mats is a fascinating journey through time that showcases this essential item's ingenuity and cultural significance. Together, we will explore the origins of floor matting, witness their transformative milestones, and discover the wide range we use in our homes, workplaces, and recreation areas.
25,000 BC: Prehistoric Origin of Mats
Floor mats, rugs, and carpets are often considered to be similar. While the origins of carpets and floor mats may be debatable, historical records show that the earliest known use of a floor covering in a dwelling dates back to the Paleolithic period - about 25,000 years ago. At that time, floor mats were essential, made of bark-like materials and similar to felt.
11,000 AD: The Birth of Japanese Tatami Mats
Tatami mats have been used since the 8th century during the Nara period. They were initially only used by the nobility and upper-class citizens for sleeping. However, starting in the 16th century, tatami mats became popular as flooring to cover entire rooms.
At this time, Japanese architecture was evolving into the traditional style we see in Japanese homes today. Tatami mats were still primarily used by the upper classes, but by the 17th century, they had become commonplace among all levels of society. Most houses had tatami mat floors as the norm.
6,000 AD: Woven Mats: Traditional Roots and Artisanal Craftsmanship
Early discoveries have revealed the use of woven grass to create floor mats, as evidenced by excavations of ancient Mesopotamian settlements dating back 6,000 years. As weaving techniques evolved among various cultures, various mats, and rugs were produced.
223 Years Ago: Rug Hooking: The Influence on Modern-Day Mats
During the 1800s in England, the first-floor mats and rugs were made using rug hooking; this involved using discarded pieces of yarn to create a woven design. This method became popular and influenced the creation of modern woven rugs, mats, and carpets that still resemble those made with rug hooking.
The Innovation of Modern-Day Matting Solutions
Commercial mats cater to indoor and outdoor entrances of businesses, anti-fatigue mats that promote wellness, and office mats. Custom logo mats are perfect for branding and marketing establishments. Coir mats, garage mats, home gym, yoga mats, kitchen and play mats for residential use. Sports mats include gymnastics, cheerleading, martial arts, wrestling, cricket, hockey mats, and horse stall mats: the dance floor mats and heated mats for winter, such as the snow melting mat system.
Let us appreciate the mats that decorate our floors today and acknowledge their rich history. Throughout the ages, mats have been more than just functional objects. They also showcase artistry, cultural significance, and human creativity. From prehistoric times to modern innovations, the story of mats reminds us of our connection to the past and the constant evolution of design and craftsmanship.