From soccer balls to baby carriers, leather is everywhere | Lifestyle | DW | 05.07.2016
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Lifestyle

From soccer balls to baby carriers, leather is everywhere

While the Euro 2016 players are kicking around a leather ball, the German Leather Museum presents a cultural history of the material. From Ancient Egyptian graves to Viennese Art Nouveau, leather has been all around us.

"No matter whether it rains or snows, or there's a storm, we're ready, we're ready. We'll shoot one goal more than you. We'll win anyways, everyone knows, since our friend is made of leather," sang German indie rock band Sportfreunde Stiller.

While leather-praising songs are not part of the exhibition currently showing at the German Leather Museum in Offenbach, it does include all kinds of historical objects made of the stuff.

"The biggest advantage of leather is its longevity, and in our fast moving times, this aspect is particularly important," explains curator Inez Florschütz.

The historian, who manages the museum's more than 30,000 leather objects, has selected pieces for a special exhibition that runs from July 3 through the end of the year. It's all about leather and how it accompanies people throughout their lives.

"Leather objects can illustrate all life situations, starting from birth all the way to death," she sums up.

Heavy duty, flexible - and preferably round

On show in Offenbach are Native American baby carrier, and Ancient Egyptian burial wreath, a leather toy elephant once belonging to the French royal house, and leather-embellished writing utensils once belonging to a 19th-century doctor. All kinds of bags, shoes and toys from various eras and regions can also be viewed.

The German Leather Museum in Offenbach Copyright: Deutsches Ledermuseum/Corinna Perl-Appl

The German Leather Museum in Offfenbach will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2017



Indispensible to the exhibition is, of course, the soccer ball. The example pictured above is nearly 100 years old and long out of service.

Leather can be used in many different ways, and it is a sturdy and durable material. These qualities add to the particular advantages of leather, says the curator: "And people are fascinated by leather as it is a natural and haptic material."

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