Torunn Klokkernes, Skin processing technology in Eurasian Reindeer cultures: a comparative study in material science of Sàmi and Evenk methods – perspectives on deterioration and preservation of museum artefacts, PhD thesis, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, The School of Conservation (2007)
From the Introduction:
Being comfortably dressed and surviving the cold winters in the Eurasian arctic and sub arctic depends entirely on the clothing you are wearing. Maintaining body heat and being able to work up a sweat without the subsequent formation of icicles on the skin requires a material that insulates, yet breathes, and that is available to the indigenous peoples inhabiting these regions. This has been achieved through many generations by the use of reindeer skin and the ability to transform, through skin processing, raw reindeer skin into comfortable, serviceable, and yet beautiful clothing.
Skin processing in Eurasian reindeer cultures represents an important craft and economic activity essentially related to the women’s sphere. Skin processing has not been thoroughly described in the available literature, and the knowledge is not easily accessible from the artefacts themselves. As this project was taking shape, the importance of understanding the practical methodology of skin processing was recognized as a significant part of the study. In order to obtain this information, people who were familiar with the technology of skin and fur processing and who were willing to share their knowledge were contacted, mainly through local museum institutions. Their knowledge is interesting, not only from a technological or preservation point of view but also from a cultural and social point of view, as it conveys the history of past generations.