Gallery of the Leathers
The Gallery of the Leathers is one of the most interesting ones in Viana Palace, as it has a private collection of embossed leathers and cordobans, which is the richest in Córdoba, made of thirty six pieces dating from the 15th-19th centuries. We must highlight an oil on leather representing the "Holy Face", or two chest covers, and a book cover, the latter dating from the 15th century, the oldest in the collection, acquired by the second Marquis of Viana in 1925.
The cordobán is the tanned leather, generally from male goat. When the leather is tanned and decorated, it is called embossed leather. This technique was introduced in our city towards the 8th century thanks to the influence of Arab craftsmen, very skillful at working with leather. They were made in Seville, Toledo, Barcelona… but preferably in Córdoba. Time has darkened many of the works displayed here, and they come unnoticed for many visitors. However, it is an unequalled collection.
In the centre of the Gallery of the Leathers we can see three glass cabinets. The first one has twelve letters patents of titles of Castilla, from the 15th-17th centuries. The second one has three letters patents from the 17th century and the book of the Señorío de Belmonte. The third one has a unique collection of twenty seven hunting and falconry books from the 16th-19th centuries.
All these pieces were carefully kept until recently, more specifically until 1973, when, on the occasion of the V Assembly of Cultural Institutions of the Provincial Governments, the collection was publicly shown in Merced Palace, as part of the exhibition "Cordobanes and Embossed leathers from Córdoba", organized by Manuel Nieto Cumplido, current archivist of the Mosque-Cathedral.
Since very recently, the direction of Viana Palace has decided to incorporate the fire arms collections from the old Hall of the Arquebuses. We can highlight the glass cabinet with up to 24 arquebuses. A small sign reads: "Fire arms made by arquebusiers from Madrid with their marks and second printings". The oldest piece dates back from the year 1686, and the most modern one is from 1861, although most of them are from the 18th century.
Nowadays, it is considered one of the most important private collections. We can highlight the one made by E. Zuloaga in 1861, with a delicate work of carving with chisel, engraved with burin and damascene work. Its main point is interesting, as it is formed by a diamond inside a frame with small diamonds, except for the rest, made in gold.
On the lower part of the glass cabinet, there are two exceptional duelling pistols. On the higher part, we can see two self-defence guns. The collection is completed by several hunting horns used to fill the arquebuses with gunpowder, as well as a mountain knife with ivory handle.
If you are wondering what to visit in Córdoba, a good option would be Viana Palace, choosing one of our guided tours. This way, you will learn everything about the Gallery of the Leathers. Choosing to do high quality sightseeing is choosing ArtenCórdoba.