Argentina’s Route 40 is one of the longest highways in South America. Born in Tierra del Fuego, just a stone’s throw from Antarctica, Route 40 follows the continental backbone of the Andes Mountain range through Argentina’s ranching countryside.
Argentine braiding traditions, an increasing influence north of the equator, were fueled by a need to survive on the South American frontier, where a strand of rawhide was all that separated a gaucho from certain death.
It’s hard to beat the utilitarian perfection of rawhide leather. It’s the horseman’s duct tape. use it to fix saddles, mend fence or wrap around your foot to hold on a floppy boot sole. In a crunch, tie a strand in a loop to substitute for an engagement ring. It’s no surprise, then, that the versatile Argentine gaucho would make use of this do-it-all material in the trenzas tradition of rawhide braiding.