Items manufactured from animal skins and vegetable fibres

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Foto de la Sala 5 - Manufacturas en pieles y fibras vegetales

This room displays a wide range of items fashioned from animal skin and vegetable fibre by the prehispanic population of Gran Canaria.

Two species were most commonly used in the crafting of vegetable fibre, rushes (primarily) and palm trees. Rushes were dried and then pounded to extract the fibre, although in some cases the stem was only dried and its original cylindrical structure was preserved.  These differences in their treatment were probably related to the kind of object to be made (vessels,  mats, garments, strings and so on) and their function. In the case of palm trees, they made use of the folioles, which were dried and then also pounded to extract their fibre.

The exhibits include different products made from animal skin (possibly garments, vessels, etc). As was the case with vegetable fibres, animal skins were crafted in different ways, some were tanned rather crudely whereas others showed careful elaboration,  some have been found with the hair or fur still on, others have had the hair removed. This variety reflected not only these products' intended function, but also the social status of the individuals for whom they were made.

In general, the leather pieces reveal a noticeable degree of sophistication, as the attention to detail evident in the stitching -made with strips of leather or tendons- shows, or the geometrical decorations made with incisions or painted with raddle.

The fact that the crafting of animal skins and vegetable fibres reveals a certain standardization, and thus gestural reiteration -perceivable, for instance, in the stitching and “patching” or in the different kinds of latticework-, together with other archeological evidence suggests that these works were performed by specific segments of the population.

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