23 in HIGH x 14 in WIDE
(58.42 cm HIGH x 35.56 cm WIDE)
Gift of State Beaches and Parks

Early California Art and History, Science Special Gallery, December 2007 - September 2009

Beef hide. Description: roughly tanned. From the History Information Station: Object: Cowhide. History: Cowhides and tallow were the medium of exchange in early California. After the cattle were slaughtered on the rancho, the hides were stripped off, scraped clean of bits of flesh and fat, and stretched out flat between pegs to dry. Used for soap and candles, the tallow, or fat, was removed from the carcass and melted to a liquid in huge cauldrons, and poured into hide bags called botas. It was sailors from the trading ships who actually tanned the hides. They soaked them in brine and scraped them clean of anything that could spoil during the long trip back to Boston. The hides were tightly packed in the ship's hold by means of a winch. A well-packed ship could carry a cargo of 30,000 to 40,000 hides and tons of tallow.

Used: Spanish/Mexican Period

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