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Re: Brain tanned hides



I think that the brain tanning processes used by some tribes is one of the
traditions that skipped a couple of generations. And unlike beading and
basket twining, there isn't much of a revival of the practice, although
there is a big demand for the hides. From what I understand, it is a
particularly messy and smelly process - a friend of mine whose grandmother
tanned their hides said that they would leave them fur side down in a pond
until they naturally decomposed some before tanning, and that all the kids
would steer clear of the pond because of the smell.

Lots of the hides traditional artists in our area use are smoked, which
gives it a wonderful, distinctive smell.

On a similar note, hiking in the foothills recently, we came upon a hide
that had been partially processed then dumped back out in the woods - no
idea why, but the consenses from our neighbors is that it is probably a bear
hide. At this point it is similar in texture to very heavy vellum and
totally dry. It's about 2' x 3' in size. Let me know off list if anyone is
interested in it and I will send it to you for the postage.

Roberta
paper@oregontrail.net

-----Original Message-----
From: Vernon Sims <VSims46955@AOL.COM>
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
Date: Friday, June 18, 1999 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: Brain tanned hides


>Leather tanned by the brains of the animal from which the skin came, in
>particular deer, was a process utilized by Native Americans, maybe still
is.
>It softens and makes the final hide pliable.  There are other steps
involved
>in the process, but the rubbing the brain matter into the hide is a major
>step in the process.  Suggest you check the library.
>
>VSims
>


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