Some authors claim that the guadameci, of oriental origin, had its beginnings in the city of Ghadames (Libya), hence its name. Others believe that the term comes from the Arab phrase “wad al masir”, referring to a brightly coloured covering made of plant fabric.
The guadameci is a piece of sheepskin which is metallised with fine gold or silver leaf, polished, engraved, perforated with small iron tools and richly polychromatic. Guadamecis were used as wall coverings in mosques, altarpieces, altars, castles and palaces, and also for the elaboration of trunks, chairs, cushions, etc.
Although these techniques go back to the 8th or 9th centuries, it was in later eras, during the 16th and 17th centuries, that they became more popular and widely diffused. During this period they were produced in several Spanish and European cities. A decline during the 18th century led to the eventual disappearance of the technique.
At the beginning of the 20th century artists and intellectuals went to great efforts in restoring this ancient craft –known as “the leathers of Cordoba” – and it was introduced as a speciality in Spanish Art Academies.