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​ The History Behind Cowhide Rugs

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Humankind has a long and rich history of crafting materials from the furs of animals. Archeologists believe that we have been using animal hides as far back as the prehistoric era. It makes total tense - because humans are mostly hairless, they turned to the furred skin of other animals for warmth and protection. It was common for hides to come from cattle or livestock. Cowhide, in particular, has been creatively used in a variety of ways.


Cowhide rugs are renowned for their natural beauty as well as their versatility. With the unbleached hair and skin of a cow, you can make shoes, jackets, belts, wallets, bags, saddles, wall hangings, sofa throws and rugs. With cowhide, the possibilities are really endless. Cowhide rugs are also beloved for their durability and affordability. This material tends to be hypo-allergenic, perfect for people who want to avoid allergic reactions from the fur of animals.

The Native Americans have a strong history with the cowhide rug. They practically turned cowhiding into an art form. For centuries, natives would create cowhide rugs to use as coverings for the shelters they resided in. Some natives would also wear cowhides as clothing, which came in very useful in regions that had intense snowstorms, a climate pattern that North America is infamous for.

Cowhides are also popular among the African people of Zulu. Based in Southern Africa, the Zulu people would also employ cowhide for various purposes. The Zulu people would turn cowhide into Nguni shields, traditional isidwaba skirts, flaps, hide belts, loin clothes, headdresses and body decoration. The Zulu cowhide headdress is called iphovela. In recent years, the Zulu tend to use cowhide more for ceremonial reasons rather than practical reasons.

In order to get a rich, quality made cowhide, people would have to work fast to create the material. If you waited too long to skin the hide of an animal, the heat would disappear, leaving a tough and rugged material behind. Once the hide was skinned, it would undergo a tanning process to keep the skin from decomposing or losing its longevity. Tanning was known to have existed as far back as the Neolithic age. Tanning was also documented in Ancient Egypt. During the Middle Ages, leather was used to craft turn shoes and welt shoes.

Nowadays, cowhide is used more for decoration than practicality. Cow hide has a natural beauty that adds a western touch to any room. The cowhide rug has seen an explosion in popularity recently, particularly in the United Kingdom. Typically, they are available in a wide variety of gorgeous colors and patterns.


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