Leather Work is generally defined as the art of using pieces of natural leather in order to decorate and make a product, through a variety of traditional methods such as burning leather, leather marquetry, carving on the leather, painting on the leather and so on.
Leather handicrafts are undoubtedly popular products in which the whole process, from husbandry and preparing the raw leather, lime work, salting etc., are carried out with hand and in a quite traditional way. Based on the remaining objects in museums, we know that Iranians tended to use leather for making shoes and weapons. A Russian researcher wrote in his book: “the wealthy people in Iran use the precious skins of animals like panther and those who can not afford use the sheep skin.”
A study on the clothing of Iranians, from 1500 years ago, states that they wore some long skin coat with short sleeves which reached the top of their knee. Due to the abundance of the husbandry fields, Hamedan province is famous for leather artefacts specially cow leather. It is the most well-known leather in all around the country because of is quality as well as quantity. Some authentic written evidence in itineraries backs the history of the Hamedan leather’s fame to the Qajar period.
In addition, the existence of tannery hall in the traditional bazaar of Hamedan, in Ekbatan street, belonging to the years before Qajar- in terms of architecture- makes us assured about the long history of the traditional Tanning in Hamedan. Furthermore, the leather manufacturing in the current industrial way began in 1312 AH, from Hamedan city, with the establishment of the first leather factory of Iran. Using cow leather is more popular in the traditional way of producing leather, because this kind of leather is more durable and so, less likely to be damaged in bating or other phases.
In addition, the final products will be superfine. In order to prepare leathers, the skins should be soaked (rehydration) three to six days in water to eliminate their salt and dryness. The salt is added to the skin after being separated from the dead body of the animal. The next phases in leather making are: unhairing, bating, salting, tanning with gallnut, fleshing, dying and polishing. The method of leather making took traditionally three months. They use the prepared leather for making a range of products like clothes, shoes, bags, tableaus, book covers and etc.