With the establishment of the colonists in Spanish America, the new continent was introduced to the European tradition of leatherwork. The colonists arrived with their belongings in large leather-lined trunks to protect them from the inclemency of the long voyage. At the beginning, they brought both already-tanned leather and leather objects and utensils from the Iberian Peninsula, but the leather-working techniques soon caught on and the indigenous populations’ themes and ways of working were incorporated.
In Mexico and Peru, a considerable leather industry was developed with the advent of two new types of containers, baskets and cases, decorated with local motifs. Most of the leather-lined cane baskets decorated with embroidery, fretwork or leather strip applications are Mexican, whereas in Peru the traditional technique of carving hard wood with thick, deep lines was applied.