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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2018 6:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry, this is a fantastic resource and you are to be commended for your work. A post like this is precisely why myArmoury is just a superior forum and format. Excellent.
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Victor R.




Location: Spring, Texas
Joined: 28 Jan 2008
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 237

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Nicolaysen wrote:
Harry, this is a fantastic resource and you are to be commended for your work. A post like this is precisely why myArmoury is just a superior forum and format. Excellent.


Which is why I nominated it as a spotlight post a couple of days ago - I could tell this was going to be a great resource for many folks here. If others feel the same, just hit that little voting/nominating button at the top of the opened post.

Thanks for all the hard work, Harry, and for sharing it with us.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr, 2018 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

FYI

The colors that you see here are entirely dependent on how you have calibrated the color spectrum of your computer's monitor.

To calibrate the colors of your monitor, go to:

control panel > display
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Sat 14 Apr, 2018 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent results Harry. What do the original texts refer to where you've used Brazilwood, as Brazilwood is a New World species?

Also, have you tried any of the recipes for dyeing hides listed in the Mappae Clavicula? I've had some good yellow-greens from using home grown weld cooked in urine and a nice purple from oak-galls and cinnabar.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr, 2018 3:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
Excellent results Harry. What do the original texts refer to where you've used Brazilwood, as Brazilwood is a New World species?

Original texts are quoted above on the original post. Brazilwood (Biancaea sappanis) an old-world species, originally obtained from India.

Brazilwood (Caesalpinia echinata) was also found later in the country that was eventually named after the wood. That's how important the red dye was back at the time. It's funny, the modern Brazil flag doesn't even have any red in it.

Nomenclature has been a major problem in deciphering the old manuscripts.
Brazilwood is not Brazilwood.
Bloodwort is not Bloodwort.
Grain is not grain.
Roman Vitriol is used to refer to either a copper or iron vitriol, depending on the context.
etc., etc.

I've had to trace nomenclature back over the centuries to determine the meanings that were in use at the time. So much has changed. I've even discovered that other people's often-quoted interpretations are wrong! (e.g., I believe that the person who translated the Segreti into English got the bloodwort species wrong in the translation.)

Likewise with units of measurement that are quoted in the old manuscripts. An ounce not only varied with time, but at the same time an ounce in Milan was wildly different from an ounce in Venice.

Matthew Bunker wrote:
Also, have you tried any of the recipes for dyeing hides listed in the Mappae Clavicula? I've had some good yellow-greens from using home grown weld cooked in urine and a nice purple from oak-galls and cinnabar.

I haven't heard of the Mappae Clavicula, but I will certainly look into it!

I did not mess around with any of the toxic substrates (cinnabar, lead, arsenic, etc.)

There are no recipes in the above documents that I quoted that use weld for a leather dye. I did try numerous experiments with fresh dried weld with a variety of concentrations and mordants (gall tannin, roche alum, Cream of Tartar, etc.), and it did not work on leather. All I got was leather color. I haven't tried the urine dye bath, but Turmeric is such a bright yellow that I've long given up on weld.

Apparently weld is a magnificent textile dye, but a very poor leather dye. This is a theme that is almost universal - textile dyes generally make for poor leather dyes.
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr, 2018 10:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Weld can yield a good colour, but the preparation instructions are quite specific and more complex than the process required when dyeing textiles.

The Mappae is the only early medieval source book for leather dyeing recipes. I've got a copy in Latin which I translated into English but the leather dye recipes are collected here:-

http://www.elizabethancostume.net/dyes/mappae.html

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr, 2018 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:

Original texts are quoted above on the original post. Brazilwood (Biancaea sappanis) an old-world species, originally obtained from India.

.


Ahh, brezel wood!

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr, 2018 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
Ahh, brezel wood!

It has a lot of different names, even in the same manuscript there are multiple different names. Brazil, brasil, brezel, etc.

Looking at the Mappae recipes, you see the same problem as in the Plictho and Segreti - terminology. You can't assume anything, and you have to trace each term back to the year in which it was written.


Last edited by Harry Marinakis on Sun 15 Apr, 2018 10:30 am; edited 2 times in total
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr, 2018 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've looked into reproducing Murex purple but the snail extract is running at about $2.4 million per pound these days

http://shop.kremerpigments.com/en/pigments/kr...le-genuine
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr, 2018 11:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry,

Could it be at all feasible to try to farm the Pupura Lapillus on a large scale to produce your own die? It strikes me that the initial outlay could be expensive, but once the operation was up and running, it would probably be much more affordable in the long term than purchasing the dye from a store. Even better would be if someone could selectively breed the snails for dye output or else modify the snail in some other way to increase the amount of dye per snail.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 18 Oct, 2018 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
Excellent results Harry. What do the original texts refer to where you've used Brazilwood, as Brazilwood is a New World species?


More information on this matter:

The species Caesalpinia sappan (also called brazilwood, sappanwood, or redwood) was obtained from India, Ceylon, and the Far East during the Middle Ages. After settlement of the New World, brazilwood (Guilandina echinata) was discovered in South America. The red dye is the same.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 18 Oct, 2018 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have been able to obtain some more blue leather dyes from the medieval manuscripts; the base ingredient is indigo.


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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 18 Oct, 2018 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And here is a ranges of purple leather dyes that were produced from a variety of ingredients such as brazilwood, buckthorn berries, and lac insects.


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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 18 Oct, 2018 6:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think I understand why there are so few brown leather dyes in medieval dyer's manuscripts.

During the Middle Ages, the ancient tripartite color scheme of red, white, and black was replaced by a new order that added three more colors: blue, green, and yellow.

White and yellow were associated with one-another on one side of the color spectrum, with all of the other colors on the opposite side. Blue was considered to be very closely aligned with black and green. Red was considered the opposite of blue as well as the opposite of white and yellow. Purple was considered to be a red, and was closer to black than to blue.

According Eraclius (10th century), the primary colors were black and white, and then there were the intermediate colors of red, green, yellow, purple, prasinus (leek green), azure, and Incicus (indigo).

All of the other colors (such as brown, orange, pink, and grey) were generally ignored, at least in hierarchy of color, and had little symbolic meanings. Brown, orange, and russet were described as being the ugliest colors of them all.

Brown was not really a color in the medieval hierarchy of colors. Rather, brown was the color of things that were not colored. Brown was the color of natural undyed clothing that was worn by the lowest ranks for manual labor. Formal religious proclamations of the early Middle Ages that defined color symbolism did not even mention the color brown. However, after the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, brown became an important symbol of modesty, and brown clothing was worn by monks and the pious.

So.... Brown was an unpopular color. One did not dye things brown. Brown was the color of things that were not dyed.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 18 Oct, 2018 6:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am also started to produce green leather dyes, although they are pretty unimpressive. It is very difficult to produce a green leather dye. But I am still working on it.

Both of these olive green dyes were produced with ripe buckthorn berries soaked in potash. The leather on the right was overdyed with a minute amount of indigo.



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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Oct, 2018 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am especially interested in the green leather dyes, as green is a predominant color for scabbards in Ottonian and some late Carolingian or late 10th/early 11th century English manuscripts. The green is always a strong, rather vibrant green. Does green ink take to leather the same way it takes to scrapped velum, as opposed to a soaked dye?

It's also possible that the scabbard coverings are fabric--how do the listed green dyes take to cloth?

"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 18 Oct, 2018 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kai Lawson wrote:
I am especially interested in the green leather dyes, as green is a predominant color for scabbards in Ottonian and some late Carolingian or late 10th/early 11th century English manuscripts. The green is always a strong, rather vibrant green. Does green ink take to leather the same way it takes to scrapped velum, as opposed to a soaked dye?

It's also possible that the scabbard coverings are fabric--how do the listed green dyes take to cloth?


I am reproducing leather dyes in medieval manuscripts from the 8th to the 16th centuries. I have looked through almost all of the manuscripts that have been translated into English, and I have not seen any leather dyes that use any ink, of any color.

The vast majority of leather dyes are brushed onto the leather. Soaking leather is rare. All of the recipes that require soaking the leather are for red dyes (madder, brazilwood, kermes, and lac) and black dyes (iron-tannin-acid salts).

Fabrics and textiles can be dyed in brilliant colors. I know that some scabbards were wrapped in velvet, so why not other fabrics?

Stay tuned for more adventures in green. I am still trying to mass produce verdigris so that I can start experimenting with the verdigris greens. It takes a few months to make a few grams of the stuff, unless you run a big operation.



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