Unique Leather Mosaic from Kazan
Among many decorative leather art techniques (application, burning, stamping, embroidery, and painting) mosaic is the hardest to execute and to find.
There is a place where the art of leather mosaic has been created and refined, where masterpieces have been meticulously and individually crafted. The name of this place is Kazan, a city situated in the heart of the Russian Federation in the beautiful and peaceful Republic of Tatarstan, the homeland of the Turkic ethnic group called the Tatars.
Kazan leather mosaic is a unique type of leather crafting that was developed in the Kazan area centuries ago. This art is a sophisticated and delicate combination of the softest leather and traditional Tatar ethnic ornaments cut and stitched together by hand.
Widely popular and famous across Russia and throughout Europe and Asia in the 18 and 19th centuries, so-called Kazan or Tatar boots crafted using the leather mosaic technique are slowly regaining their popularity thanks to dedicated and passionate craftsmen in the Kazan area who have been creating masterpieces by hand. Kazan stitch – the bonding mechanism of the technique – cannot be reproduced by a machine. There is nothing else in the world that looks and feels the same!
The art of Kazan leather mosaic has an interesting and rocky history. The period since the Soviet Union collapsed has been the hardest time for the few craftsmen left to keep the art alive. They are doing a wonderful job of preserving the art with the limited resources available to them. Much still needs to be done to preserve, revive, and popularize the art of unique Kazan leather mosaic across generations and nations.