Developed by Turkic nomads in Iron Ages leather crafting reached its zenith in the 18-19th centuries when the skilled and resilient Volga (Kazan) Tatars of, then, Russian Empire (now, Tatarstan Republic, Russian Federation) refined and finessed it to become a beautiful and functional art: The art of delicate combination of softest colorful leather cut into Tatar ethnic patterned pieces in mosaic (jigsaw) manner and meticulously and craftfullly stitched together by hands.
The “jigsaw” pieces of colorful mosaic patterns are attached to each other from the inside with the Kazan stitch that looks like embroidery from the outside.
Widely popular and famous across Europe and Asia in the 19th-early 20th centuries so-called Tatar Boots (also Kazan boots, Asian boots, ichigi, shchitekler ) are crafted using the Tatar Leather Mosaic technique.
Several museums worldwide have in their collections examples of antique uniquely-patterned boots created by the Tatar masters in the 18th-early 20th centuries. The boots are labeled as Kazakh, Uzbek, Ukrainian, Russian, Crimean, Kyrgyz, etc.: It specifies the geographical origin of the exhibit and, possibly, the location of the workshop it had been created. During the 18-19 centuries, many successful Kazan Tatar leather crafters had opened workshops in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and had traded their goods, including quality and exceptional Tatar boots, throughout the European and Asian territories.
During the period of Soviet governance (1917-1991) ethnic arts of numerous indigenous minorities populating the vast territories of now-Russian Federation experienced times of oblivion and undeniable degradation.
Recent years brought great interest and attention to the world of craftsmanship and authentic crafts: The Tatar Leather Mosaic has been slowly gaining followers, supporters and admirers. Much still needs to be done to preserve, revive, and popularize the unique art of Tatar Leather Mosaic.
This UniqueLeatherMosaic.com website is aimed to: ♥introduce to English-speaking audience the unique authentic technique; ♥promote the art and find supporters; ♥popularize craftsmanship and hand-work; ♥uncover hidden treasures of Tatar culture!
This website (created in 2012 and continuously updated) is an effortful attempt to summarize available information about Tatar Leather Mosaic and to present it for English-speaking audience. The information on the website is gathered, translated, interpreted and arranged by huge fans of Tatar Leather Mosaic: Chulpan, Ideliya and Rafik.
We realize that the Art of Tatar Leather Mosaic is not as appreciated and valued as it should be. If you find it interesting, please share it with the world! Feel free to contact us for more information!