This is a painted straw mat and likely was used either as a sleeping mat or a floor covering in the manner of a hall runner. The construction points to having originated in a culture with a strong weaving tradition. The possibility that is was used as a sleeping mat would indicate origins in a culture in which sleeping on the floor would be a norm. As Dr. Turner's studies took him to such cultures on both sides of the Atlantic, it is possible that this mat was acquired in either Africa or South America. Additionally, he might have obtained it in the United States while studying the Gullah culture along the southeastern coast, as the Gullah had a demonstrated culture of weaving, as well as being a bastion of holdover elements from the days of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.