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Tanning, basil… a story of skin!
From the Arabic bîtana, from which the Provençal bazana and the French basane were derived, “basil” is a leather made using small hides, mostly sheepskins and tanned with agents of 100% plant origin.

Other leathers, traditionally tanned using alum, fade in the sun, whereas basil tans in the sun, being tanned with agents of plant origin. This particular feature gave rise to the French word basané used to describe olive complexions!

Traditionally, the basil-maker applied to the sheepskin a tanning agent with a redoul base which gives the leather a wood-like hue. Redoul is a decidious shrub which brought prosperity to the Mount Redon region (between the Tarn and Agout rivers near Toulouse).

Fellmongers known in French as mégissiers, who work on small hides such as sheepskin, lambskin, calfskin etc., have nowadays replaced redoul with sumach and quebracho, imported from Africa or Argentina, without this modifying the properties of basil.
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The Natural Leather
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