Muskox Leather Products
For thousands of years, Inuit have traditionally dried and tanned muskox hides to make clothing, bedding and shelter. Today, it is more common for the muskox hide to be commercially tanned.
Great care must be taken in the early stages of preparing the hide for transport from the North. Local harvesters are careful to remove the hide in one large piece. The hides must be salted and kept cool, if not frozen, during their transport to the tannery.
Muskox hides coming from Nunavut are tanned in Ontario. First, the hide goes through a blowing process to remove the hair and hair follicles. As the hide is thin and quite uniform in thickness, it does not need to be split like cow hide does. Next it is softened through a tumbling process. The dying process leaves a semi-gloss finish in black or chestnut brown, although the hide can be dyed any colour as it is naturally a yellow shade. Finally, the hide is hung to dry. It may take up to three weeks to tan a hide, making it a very involved and time-consuming process.
Muskox leather is lightly grained and durable enough to last for many years. It is lightweight and supple, making it the ideal type of leather to make fashionable goods from. However, due to the limited quantity of leather available, products are in high demand and warrant the attention they receive.