How much do you know about fur tanning methods in ancient times?

Human beings began to use and process animal fur in ancient times.
As we all know, modern human fur clothing has become quite light, soft, gorgeous and elegant.
However, the animal fur used before clothing production is far from such a comfortable and soft state. It is greasy, stiff, and has an animal odor. This kind of animal fur without nitrate treatment is called “rawhide”.
In order to obtain smooth and soft clothing fur, the “raw leather” must be “salted” to make it a “cooked leather” with soft leather, tasteless fur, luster and elasticity. This process is called “saltpeter” process, which is commonly referred to as tanning process. The salted fur feels smooth, light and soft, the leather is firm, and the color of the fur is like satin. It is the best choice for making ready-made clothes.
Of course, if the tanning technology is not up to standard, the same level of fur raw materials may result in heavy leather plate and non slippery feel.
In ancient times, human life and living conditions were extremely difficult, the natural environment was relatively poor, and the development of productivity was extremely low. Out of survival and physiological instinct, in order to resist the cold and the need of protection and camouflage, human beings began to use animal skins subconsciously.
At first, the fur was used for simple hanging. Later, in order to make the hanging more comfortable and fit, the desire to soften the animal fur came into being. Because animal fur is one of the main items used by ancient humans to resist the cold, and it is also their first clothes. The untreated animal fur is as hard as wood, which is extremely inconvenient.
In the process of millions of years’ evolution, human beings will certainly try their best to solve the puzzles and problems encountered in their survival by using all the resources and conditions around them, and continue to experiment and make difficult explorations again and again. In the process of exploration, new discoveries will be made. Thus, the history of human processing and tanning of animal fur in ancient times began.
According to research and research, in ancient times, human beings had the following Tanning Methods for animal fur:
The first is oil tanning and smoking. These are two fur tanning methods unanimously recognized by experts in the archaeological community, and they are also a more authoritative statement in the fur community.
The Tanning Methods and principles of oil tanning and smoking are as follows:
1. Oil tanning. Early human beings in ancient times basically lived a life of “eating meat and drinking blood” and “eating meat and sleeping skin”. When they realized that animal fur had the function of keeping warm and keeping warm, they hung it on their bodies or covered them. Later, in order to make it easier to wear bedding, after countless attempts, they finally found that animal fat and brain pulp can soften animal fur. Therefore, they use stone tools such as stone axes, shovels and knives made by them to peel off the skins of animals that have been hunted or died naturally, spread them out, and then smear animal fat, brain pulp and lipids on the skin plate, and then beat and rub them repeatedly with force, so as to make the skins softer. Later, in the late Paleolithic period, people invented bone needles and bone cones, so they could simply connect animal skins, which was more convenient and comfortable than before. Comparatively speaking, the animal fur that has not been tanned is still dry and hard, which is very difficult or even impossible to use.
2. Fumigation. In the long practice of life, ancient humans also found another way to soften animal fur, namely, smoking. Place animal skins on the erected tree trunks, and ignite firewood below to produce smoke to smoke and roast animal skins to soften them. Then, the fur was simply treated with plant ash and stove soil.
In fact, no matter the oil tanning method or smoking method adopted by ancient humans, the principle contained in modern scientific and technological analysis is aldehyde tanning. The basic function of aldehyde tanning is to modify the protein in animal fur, making the leather flexible, non perishable, durable and easy to preserve.
It is said that there is also a method of combining the two, first oil tanning and then smoking.
The second is water tanning and mouth tanning. This is a controversial statement at present.
1. Water tanning. On the basis of using stone tools to remove animal skin and meat dregs, the temperature of water, pH and other factors have a certain impact on fur tanning. In ancient times, human beings used natural hot spring water resources and primitive stone slabs, wooden sticks and other tools to knead, rub, beat and beat animal fur. Through physical and chemical effects, the fur was purified and softened.
This is a long-term exploration process. People living in ancient times used various natural rivers and springs, including animal blood and urine, to beat and knead animal fur repeatedly, and made constant attempts. Through these physical effects, they obtained a method to soften the fur. This is called water tanning.
2. Mouth tanning. Is to chew the leather plate with your teeth to make it soft. During this process, certain chemical reactions occur between saliva and cortex, and finally the animal fur is softened through the bite pressure and mouth temperature of the mouth.
This is a human instinct. Because for a long time, the frequency of human using the mouth is the highest and strongest. In addition to the hands, feet and limbs, the mouth is also a powerful tool for production and survival. The function of the mouth is not limited to diet. After millions of years, until now, when women are doing needlework, they still use their teeth to bite in order to smooth the seams of clothes. This is one of the most convenient and ancient ironing methods. It is more common to bite off the suture. As a convenient and practical method of tanning fur, mouth tanning was applied and spread.
The third is soil tanning.
1. Earth tanning. In the course of research, we also found that there is a kind of soil tanning method for fur tanning. Because the soil in nature contains a lot of trace elements such as salt, alkali and nitrate, it has a good effect on removing grease and softening leather. Using it to tanning fur has not only physical effects, but also chemical and other comprehensive reactions.
For example, during the period of the Yellow Emperor, the saline and alkaline beaches on both banks of the Sanggan River in the Nihewan Basin became the main production base for the Yellow Emperor to tanning and processing fur. After moving from the Weihe River basin to the Nihewan Basin in Shaanxi Province, the Yellow Emperor accidentally discovered that the saline alkali soil on the Sanggan River beach had the magical effect of softening animal skins. Therefore, he studied and popularized the method of tanning fur with saline alkali soil, and established many fur processing and tanning workshops. Since then, this technology has been handed down for thousands of years. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was also widely used by local people. After testing, the content of sodium sulfate in the saline alkali soil along the Sanggan River reaches 15%, and there are also nitrate, alkali and other elements. These are indispensable raw materials for tanning fur.
In the process of human evolution for millions of years, in order to survive, ancient humans would try every means to soften the fur by using all available things and adopting various feasible methods, so as to make full use of the fur to keep warm, thus realizing human reproduction, survival, evolution and development.

Post time: Jun-23-2022