Natural Dyes

Topics: Cochineal, Crimson, Dye Pages: 33 (11215 words) Published: November 9, 2011
Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates,a or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources – roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood — and other organic sources such as fungi and lichens. Archaeologists have found evidence of textile dyeing dating back to the Neolithic period. In China, dyeing with plants, barks and insects has been traced back more than 5,000 years.[1] The essential process of dyeing changed little over time. Typically, the dye material is put in a pot of water and then the textiles to be dyed are added to the pot, which is heated and stirred until the color is transferred. Textile fiber may be dyed before spinning (dyed in the wool), but most textiles are yarn-dyed or piece-dyed after weaving. Many natural dyes require the use of chemicals called mordants to bind the dye to the textile fibers; tannin from oak galls, salt, natural alum, vinegar, and ammonia from stale urine were used by early dyers. Many mordants, and some dyes themselves, produce strong odors, and large-scale dyeworks were often isolated in their own districts. Throughout history, people have dyed their textiles using common, locally available materials, but scarce dyestuffs that produced brilliant and permanent colors such as the natural invertebrate dyes Tyrian purple and crimson kermes became highly prized luxury items in the ancient and medieval world. Plant-based dyes such as woad, indigo, saffron, and madder were raised commercially and were important trade goods in the economies of Asia and Europe. Across Asia and Africa, patterned fabrics were produced using resist dyeing techniques to control the absorption of color in piece-dyed cloth. Dyes from the New World such as cochineal and logwood were brought to Europe by the Spanish treasure fleets, and the dyestuffs of Europe were carried by colonists to America. The discovery of man-made synthetic dyes in the mid-19th century triggered the end of the large-scale market for natural dyes. Synthetic dyes, which could be produced in large quantities, quickly superseded natural dyes for the commercial textile production enabled by the industrial revolution, and unlike natural dyes, were suitable for the synthetic fibers that followed. Artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement preferred the pure shades and subtle variability of natural dyes, which mellow with age but preserve their true colors, unlike early synthetic dyes,[1] and helped ensure that the old European techniques for dyeing and printing with natural dyestuffs were preserved for use by home and craft dyers. Natural dyeing techniques are also preserved by artisans in traditional cultures around the world. Contents[hide] * 1 Origins * 2 Processes * 3 Common dyestuffs * 3.1 Reds and pinks * 3.2 Oranges * 3.3 Yellows * 3.4 Greens * 3.5 Blues * 3.6 Purples * 3.7 Browns * 3.8 Greys and blacks * 3.9 Lichen * 3.10 Fungi * 4 Luxury dyestuffs * 4.1 Royal purple * 4.2 Crimson and scarlet * 4.3 The rise of formal black * 5 Decline and rediscovery * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 External links| [edit] Origins

Colors in the "ruddy" range of reds, browns, and oranges are the first attested colors in a number of ancient textile sites ranging from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age across the Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Europe, followed by evidence of blues and then yellows, with green appearing somewhat later. The earliest surviving evidence of textile dyeing was found at the large Neolithic settlement at Çatalhöyük in southern Anatolia, where traces of red dyes, possible from ochre (iron oxide pigments from clay), were found.[2] Polychrome or multicolored fabrics seem to have been developed in the 3rd or 2nd millennium BCE.[2] Textiles with a "red-brown warp and an ochre-yellow weft" were discovered in Egyptian pyramids of the Sixth Dynasty (2345-2180 BCE).[3] The chemical analysis that would...
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