The Tatars have been very proficient in jewelry, textile, embroidery and leather crafting from Middle Ages. All decorative and applied arts have the same common elements: They all carry traces of the graceful, delicate and intricate combination of floral, vegetative, zoomorphic and geometrical motifs and ornaments that are influenced by traditions and beliefs of Turkic nomads and Islam.
Tatar Leather Mosaic has always been sought after for the exceptional combination of expressiveness and simplicity of the designs as well as for the softest leather those jigsawed patterns are stitched together. The ornaments are simple yet powerful, precise and symbolic. Tatar Leather mosaics have complex structure that presents several patterns of different colored leather framed by colorful silk contours that are stitched in a manner that is found only in Tatar leatherwork.
Variations of motifs resembling different flowers and parts of plants can be found in all Tatar leatherwork. Multiple shapes, forms, silhouettes of buds, stems, petals, rosettes and tulips determine the surface of the mosaic. The most used are flower-like shapes that are more expressive by nature and have simple outlines. Floral bouquets are widely used for boot ornamentations. Horn-shaped motifs and cloud–like motifs are the most popular and the most ancient ones. They are used not only because of their elasticity of the forms with semicircular contours, but also because they reflect a symbolic connection of flora and fauna.
The motifs of young sprouts, leaves, and flower-sun borrowed from embroidery and jewelry expand the symbolic understanding of the world. The flower–sun motif is usually created with a combination of up to 5 leather colors and symbolizes a joyful life and wheel of fortune. The very popular motif of heart-like shapes is considered the latest addition to the ornamental designs used in leather mosaic. Most leatherwork either has simple heart-like shapes or a more complex version with three-leaf palmettes inside of the hearts. Geometrical shapes and forms, like polygons and octagons, are common to all Islamic abstract rectilinear art, and are well-represented in Tatar Leather Mosaic. Lines, waves, spirals, zigzags, six or eight point stars interlace and create intricate, arabesque designs.
Creating designs for flat surfaces like pillows requires different approach than for demential surfaces like boots. On flat surfaces the composition is centered and symmetrical with even distribution of the patterns. For boots the patterns repeat on each side with unfolding central design.