Leather

Ethiopia has the largest livestock industry in Africa and the 10th largest in the world, allowing them to produce 2.7 million cattle hides per year. The milk, meat, blood, and skins of cattle play important roles in Ethiopian culture making the cow an essential part of life. From the tribes of South Omo that drink cow's blood for strength to the ancient texts of the north, written on parchment (paper made from animal skin), cattle remain a crucial element of religious and daily life.

In craft production, leather is used widely around the country. The pastoral people of the Omo Valley often wear leather skirts and use leather pieces to make water bags and buckets. Leather is used to reinforce natural fiber baskets, wooden containers, or pottery to make them more waterproof and easier to carry. Traditionally, artisans have created leather shoes and other garments while builders have used leather to reinforce roofing. The contemporary leather industry creates a wide range of modern goods including purses, bags, and jackets with modern designs.

Visitors can find leather in...

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