The 7 hidden stories your cowhide can tell

Lascaux painting of Aurochs

When you built your house, you created something unique that speaks of who you are. Your home’s interior decoration should also empower that cause. The truth is, with synthetic rugs there are no unique or even interesting stories to be told: there is a factory, the raw materials fed in and the products spewed out. With cowhide things are completely different.

When you use leather and fur for home décor, you place something truly unique in your house. Nature does not repeat itself, so no two rugs will ever be identical. Cowhide is gorgeous and luxurious and has no trouble becoming the center of attention. And since we are somewhat detached from nature, people will have all kinds of questions about it. So here are seven interesting stories you can share about your cowhide to wow your visitors.

7 conversation starters

1. In 2009 scientists mapped the entirety of cows’ genome. This unlocked a wealth of information about cattle that we would never find out otherwise. Did you know bovines share 80 percent of their genes with humans?

2. The ancient ancestor of all cattle is Auroch, an ancient bovine 2 times as big as domestic cows. They went extinct around 1627 AD due to hunting and habitat loss. They were first domesticated in the Near East (the area of Mesopotamia, today Iraq) around 10500 BC, and then spread in other regions. A description of Aurochs by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar suggests that their domestication was a breakthrough for civilization.

3. All of today’s cattle species descend from that one first domesticated herd. Archeological findings put them in Ancient Egypt and India around 3000 BC and in China around 2000 BC. In the Americas they were brought much later by Columbus on his second visit in 1493 AD.

4. The most popular and widespread cow breeds today are Holstein in Europe and Longhorn in America. Holsteins appeared in the Netherlands 2000 years ago and are dairy production animals. Their common colors are white with black patches. Longhorns appeared 500 years ago in Mexico and were driven northwards to Texas. They are meat production oriented and their common color is red. They have slightly longer hair.

5. The word hide is of Dutch origin (“huid”) and means “mammal skin”. Notice that there is no distinction made between animal and human skin.

Zulus holding Nguni shields

6. The practice of using animal hides trace back to mankind’s origins. At first they were used for clothing needs only, but later cowhide uses expanded to include weaponry, storage, maps and tents. All civilizations used whatever had available. Ancient Greeks used goat and sheep skin, Vikings used reindeer hide while Egyptians had access to Alligator skin. South African Zulu tribes specifically used cowhide for their traditional clothing and Nguni shields.

7. Cowhide use as rugs began between 1700 and 1800, first by Native Americans and later by cowboys. The idea was then adopted by mountain retreats and chalets in Europe and quickly became a trend. Cowhide rugs became very popular in the seventies but their popularity dropped as anti-fur protests erupt in the 80s. Today, fur and leather industries take the ethical route. All of our cowhide rugs are handmade with attention to detail and following strict EU regulations.

Cowhide today

Now the trend is returning. Leather and fur rugs make a strong comeback and terms like “cowboy chic” and “country chic” are common in every decoration magazine. The versatility, natural shine and luxurious feel of cowhide rugs make them more than a popular choice for interior designers. Cowhides are a durable natural product. While not exactly cheap, they sure are affordable and given their longevity they are a choice worth considering.

Intrigued? Take a look at our e-shop if you plan to buy cowhide rugs online.

Cowhide rug on display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *