Goatskin is tougher and more tightly fibered than sheepskin, has a hard-wearing grain, and, when properly tanned, can last for centuries. It colors beautifully and has a distinctive texture identified by ridges and furrows in the grain, and hair pits in groups all over the surface. Straight-grained goatskin is produced by rolling damp skins until all the furrows in the grain run in the same direction, while crushed goatskins have had the ridges flattened by ironing, rolling or plating.
Although MOROCCO , the best known goatskin, was first produced by the Moors, possibly as early as the 11 th century or before, the use of goatskin in Europe did not become common until the first half of the 16th century, in Italy, and was not common in France until the second half of the 16th century. It was rarely used in England before 1600. Since its rise to ascendancy, however, it has been the traditional skin used in fine bookbinding. See also: LEATHER ; LEVANT ; NIGER . (83 , 102 , 164 , 207 , 236 , 291 , 335 , 363 )