Mat, a coarse fabric made by interweaving strips of the inner bark of trees, flags, rushes, husks, straw, grass, rattans, or similar materials, and used for covering floors, for beds, sails, packing of furniture and goods, and a variety of other purposes. In Paris mats were commonly employed as tapestry for lining the walls of rooms till some time in the last century. They serve among rude nations as a substitute for wooden doors and glass windows. By gardeners they are employed to protect delicate plant- from frost. Mats are supposed to be the first fabrics that were woven by man; and almost all savage trilies now possess considerable -kill in their manufacture. The grass mats of the South sea islanders are often of great beauty for their fineness and the brilliant colors of their dyes The Japanese cultivate a peculiar species of rush for making mats, and the softness and elasticity of these well adapt them for beds or floor coverings. The Chinese make rattan floor mats of all sizes, but chiefly about 7 ft. by 5; also rush floor mats, and table mats of rattans and rushes, all of which are exported. In Europe, mats from reeds and rushes are largely produced in Spain and Portugal; but in Russia the manufacture is a prominent branch of national industry.
The material there employed is the bark of the lime or linden tree, and the mats are known in Europe as "bast" mats. In the governments of Vi-atka, Kostroma, and those adjoining, the villages are said to be almost deserted during May and June, the whole population being in the woods stripping the trees. (See Lindex).