Cordovan leatherwork, generally made of goat’s hide, is high-quality tanned leather which is eminently practical and functional. It may be dated back to the Hispano-Arab Cordoba, a city which became the largest and most important manufacturing centre of this kind of leather. It soon became an extremely prestigious and renowned product that was exported to Western Europe. Since medieval times, cordovan leather has mainly been used to cover boxes, chests and cases, and also to make shoes and gloves.
Many chests and drawers were lined with cordovan leather. The chests were used to keep ladies’ and gentlemen’s personal belongings, money or documents, or to keep a rich gilt work treasure. They could also be used as a gift to signal love and were often illustrated with scenes inspired in courtly love. In religion, they were used to keep relics, books of hours or other liturgical objects.