NOTES OF HISTORY ON THE FLORAL DECORATION ON LEATHER

Given that, to date, there is no detailed literature on the styles and evolutions concerning decorative techniques on leather, it is not possible to fix a place and a date about the birth of these techniques, but many agree that the first artistic expressions in this regard have their roots in the Middle East already in the times of Assyrians and Babylonians.

In fact, there are many museums of ancient history all over the world where leather objects decorated with engravings, embellished with metals and precious stones or paintings with extremely refined representations are displayed.

Through the numerous commercial activities that have developed over the centuries from the Middle East to the rest of the world, in addition to objects and consumer goods, many of these artistic and artisan techniques have also been imported, which have since spread and evolved in the importing countries. We find numerous examples both in Europe and in Asian countries. It is in Europe, however, mainly in the south of Spain, that artisanal and artistic activities, linked to leather working, have found fertile ground to flourish and develop considerably (think of the city of Cordoba, in Andalusia).

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During the years of the Renaissance, in Europe all artistic and craft fields experienced their moment of greatest splendor, so much so that with colonialism these techniques were exported again and in some cases they were reintroduced in the countries of origin by influencing the original techniques and promoting new developments.

As for the techniques of decoration with floral motifs on leather, many think that the Spanish conquistadors introduced it in the Americas starting from the end of the 1400s, first in areas related to carpentry and metalworking. Consider, for example, the wood inlayers of which one could appreciate the decorations of ships or furnishing objects or metal engravers in the making of jewels and in the decoration of firearms.

Although in the field of leather goods a level of perfection and refinement has never been reached, as in furniture or jewelery of the Victorian era, the technique quickly spread and distinguished itself in different styles albeit similar throughout the new world.

Initially these objects were the exclusive property of extremely affluent people, but with the passing of time they began to reproduce these decorations even in less precious and commonly used objects such as bags, saddles and / or harnesses, increasing, while remaining very expensive, the audience of subjects that could afford such luxury, up to the present day when objects and accessories decorated in this way are within the reach of many.

To date, this technique is still evolving and its maximum expression is found, starting from the mid-1900s, in those US States where the myth of the West of the Cowboys was and still is very strong in which the modern ones have developed Sheridan, Porters or Visalia styles, which have characters like Don King, JF as reference artists Jackson, Don Buttler, Chester Hape, but to which we can add many others still very active today.

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