Buckskin (leather)

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A deer skin at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland

Buckskin is the soft, pliable, porous preserved hide of an animal – usually deertanned in the same way as deerskin clothing worn by Native Americans. Some leather sold as "buckskin" may now be sheepskin tanned with modern chromate tanning chemicals and dyed to resemble real buckskin.

Buckskin is preserved with a dressing of lubricant, physically manipulated to make it soft and pliable, and usually smoked with woodsmoke. Smoking gives buckskin its typical dark honey color, and is highly recommended. Smoking prevents the tanned hide from becoming stiff if it gets wet, and deters insects from eating it as well. Unsmoked buckskin is lighter, even white, in color.

Clothing made of buckskin is referred to as buckskins.


Shirt for Chief's War Dress, 19th century, Sioux, Brooklyn Museum

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