[email protected] +44 (0) 191 240 2645
Trade Associations
 FREE DELIVERY  NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL  FULLY INSURED

What is Shagreen?

What is Shagreen?


Shagreen is a type of leather, typically linked to a range of ancient weapons. In China, shagreen has documented usage dating to the 2nd century and was used in bows, alongside wood and horn, during the Qing dynasty. There is also a plethora of examples of Japanese katanas, tachis, and wakizashis – swords and daggers of varying kinds – that have shagreen hilts. The benefit of this is that shagreen is very rough leather, and so it provides some texture that is easier to grip than smooth leather.


What is Shagreen Made From?


Most often, shagreen is made from horse skin, such as the Asiatic wild ass. It has also been made from shark and ray skin at various points in history. The word shagreen is linked to the Turkic word ‘sagri’, meaning ‘rump of a horse’, as this is the area of skin that was used to make shagreen.

What is Shagreen?

Early forms of shagreen – made from horse-skin – involved plant seeds being placed in the skin before any treatment, whilst the skin remains malleable, placing cloth over everything, and then stamping the seeds into the skin itself. Once the skin was dry, these seeds were removed, leaving a texture to the leather that was its distinctive feature.


Shagreen Use


Beyond ancient Asian weaponry, shagreen has been used as a binding for books, typically being considered as more valuable or ‘special’ than more traditional, smoother leathers. Shagreen has also been used to decorate various antique pieces such as pocketbooks or boxes and cases. There are a variety of silver antiques that feature shagreen as a part of their decoration, in the same way that enamel or glass is also used to complement silver.


The popularity of shagreen has fluctuated over the centuries. In the 1700s, shagreen was popular throughout Europe, finding prominence in Louis XV of France’s court. In the 19th century, shagreen was commonly used as an outer shell for glasses cases across China – many of which were exported to Europe.


The popularity of shagreen has come and gone in waves over the centuries. In the 1700s, shagreen was popular throughout Europe, finding prominence in Louis XV of France’s court. In the 19th century, shagreen was commonly used as an outer shell for glasses cases across China – many of which were exported to Europe.


 
Andrew Campbell started trading in antiques during the 1970s. Initially, Andrew lived in the South of England, travelling the country, searching for items of silver to buy. Andrew sold these items at various London markets and antique fairs. Over time, and through selling at a range of venues, Andrew built up a large and diverse customer base from private buyers to national and international trade customers.
Read More
 
Register & Login
Delivery & Returns
Privacy & Security
Cookie Declaration
Frequently Asked Questions
Help & Information
Blog
 

35b St Georges Terrace,
Jesmond,
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE,
NE2 2SU,
United Kingdom
T: +44 (0) 191 240 2645
E: [email protected]
VAT: GB 500 0310 42

Directions