Do you still believe that fur clothing traditions came form ancient European civilizations? It might have, but there was a separate development of fur heritage in other parts of the world. Why separate? It was all because of geographical boundaries so as cultural. Primal tribes couldn’t cross oceans, therefore fur industry was bounded for a long time, until the discovery of America and the importation of Asian culture to the west. If we had a breath lesson about North American and Asian fur trades, lets talk about European civilizations and how they wore and skinned fur. What it is or was so special about fur farming in Europe?
Animal skins and furs were ceremonial and symbolic in the ancient Mediterranean regions. Phoenicians, Romans and Greeks build their civilization on the foundation of arts, polytheistic religions, democracy and furs. Fur was a symbol of power and social status, just like today, but fur farming was not yet concerned. Men in battles covered themselves in fur coats as a fabric of warmth and power. Even if Mediterranean regions didn’t suffer from cold weather conditions, Northern Europeans chose fur as their main garment. Withing years hunting traditions evolved into hunting for fur fashion. Within centuries fur farming market evolved. The start was in 10th century, when Europeans began to think of fur as the main fashion and social status detail. In 11th and 12th centuries hats out of fur, especially beaver fur were considerate to be fashionable. This is when fur caps, gloves and muffs came into being. Those were the years of European guild rise. Those days furriers had their guild, just like any other craftsmen.
*European Kings and nobles wore the finest fur, but fur farming existed not just for the royal purposes. Still there were some types of fur that belonged only to the royalty and nobility: it was white ermine. It was against the law for common people to wear specific types of fur.
Only in 17th century fur trade began to expand. With the great geographic discoveries began the global fur trade history. Europeans expanded their boarders, crossed oceans and formed their colonies in Africa, North America, but not yet Asia. It was in 1670 when King Charles II of England granted his cousin Prince Rupert with privileges to colonize Hudson Bay area. He had a trading rights, that gave a change to export furs from Canada. The Hudson Bay Company by the 19th century was considerate as the most powerful fur farming and trading organization in North America. It was in 19th century when fur rose to even greater status of fashion. From beaver fur furriers made coats, gloves, muffs, hats and shawls.
The real fur farming began in early 19th century. It was the time when trappers discovered the perfect quality of mink fur. Not just in America, but also in Europe farmers began to bread minks. This breading was selective, so that they could get the best quality furs. Even today American minks are farmed throughout Europe. However, the antecedents of nowadays minks looked entirely different. Today fur farming is sill a mainstay of agriculture in Baltic states, Easter and Southern Europe, so as in Scandinavia.