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Article: Mushroom leather is a traditional material!?


Mushroom leather is a traditional material!?

Let's take a look at the history of when humans started using mushrooms as a substitute for leather.

Amadou, a traditional Romanian ingredient

Traditional Romanian mushroom leather Amadou
"Amadou", a traditional Romanian mushroom leather

The photo shows "Amadou", a traditional Romanian mushroom leather. It is said to have a history of several hundred years, and the techniques have been passed down from craftsmen to craftsmen, who have used it for hats, wallets, and other items. This sample was purchased from a workshop in Romania that has been producing it for over 150 years.

The raw material is a tough mushroom called 'Tsuriganetake', which grows on fallen beech trees. This mushroom grows inside the tree, attaching a shelf-like cap a few centimetres wide to the trunk. The cap is cut with a sickle, shaved into thin strips, which are then pounded with a mallet and stretched into wide felt-like sheets.

Mushroom leather is attracting attention as an innovative material, but it is actually a traditional material with a long history.

Iceman and mushrooms

The relationship between the fungus and humans can be traced back to the Neolithic period.

The Iceman is a frozen mummy of a Neolithic man who lived about 5,300 years ago, discovered in 1991 in the Ötzal Valley on the Italian-Austrian border.

The Iceman had a leather case around his waist that contained loose, flocculent fibers of the basil plant and a pyrite flint.

In Europe, flocculent fungi have been used since ancient times as ignition agents and tinder for sparks on flint. The scientific name of Fomes fomentarius means "tinder".

In Japan, the Ainu of Hokkaido and others call it Hokuchitake, and it is believed that mushrooms have been used for a wide range of purposes other than food, regardless of civilization.

Mushroom hyphae are less than 1/100 of a millimeter thick, making them ideal for tinder, which require contradictory properties: they are easy to ignite but difficult to burn.

To use it as tinder, finely sliced ​​amadou must be soaked in sodium carbonate for a week, gently tapped every now and then, and then dried. If it was meant to be used as tinder, which requires a more complicated process, it's not hard to imagine it being used as a dough as well.

The leather worn by the Iceman

At the same time, the Iceman was known to have been wearing items made from the skins of various animals.

The shoelaces were made from cowhide, the fur parts of the coat and the loincloth from sheep, and the leggings from goat, animals that had already been domesticated, as evidenced by DNA analysis. Wild animal skins were also used, including brown bear for the hat and roe deer for the quiver.

Harmony with nature and a sustainable future

Since ancient times, humans have lived with mushrooms and leather to survive in harsh environments.

" Hitoe® Fold Aria -Mushroom- " is a product that combines traditional materials such as mushrooms and leather inherited from the past with modern environmental awareness.
Just as our ancestors lived in harmony with nature, this product represents a step towards a sustainable future.

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