A parchment is the skin of an animal, usually of sheep, sometimes of goat or calf, which is specially prepared to serve as a writing medium. By extension, it has come to designate also any document written on this type of medium. It can also be used in painting, in bookbinding, in the instrument making of certain instruments (drums, bass drums) and in the covering of furniture.
Succeeding papyrus , the main medium of writing in the West until the 7th century , parchment was used extensively throughout the Middle Ages for manuscripts and charters , until it was in turn dethroned by the paper . Its use persisted thereafter in a more restricted way, because of its very high cost.