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Neue Metodische Ansätze bei der Anwendung von Küpferverfahren in der Purpurfärberei

TitleNeue Metodische Ansätze bei der Anwendung von Küpferverfahren in der Purpurfärberei
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMEIERS, F.
JournalExperimentelle Archäogie in Europa
PublisherBeltz Bad Langensalza GmbH
Place PublishedBad Langensalza
Type of Articlearticle
Publication LanguageGerman
ISBN Number978-3-944255-01-9

After providing a series of experiments with purple snails of the species "Bolinus brandaris" using different vats (soda, urine, yeast, sodium dithionite), not only the achieved colour samples were compared with each other, but also the various vats on criteria such as reliability and energy demand. The experiments were closely based on written sources from antiquity (Aristotle, Pliny and Vitruvius) and the historically documented woad/indigo vats. For modern circumstances, the sodium dithionite vat would be considered as the optimal purple dyeing vat. However, it has no historical value, since sodium dithionite has only been available around 100 years ago. The soda vat elaborated by Boesken-Kanold and Haubrichs gave a satisfactory result with the used molluscs. Also, the combination of long fermentation time and mechanical heating of the vat lead to increased energy consumption. In return, the urine vat showed its advantages precisely in this respect using low room temperature and no additional heating source. Yet, the odour was considerable. The yeast vat could not be performed successfully in this series of experiments. The imitation dyes, which had been reproduced according to the papyri "Graecus Holmiensis" and "Leidensis X", could emphasize the potential and practicality of these historical recipe collections. The results suggested that the antique dyeing workshops would operate a large market, which was subject to more or less rapidly changing fashion trends, with affordable products. Cheaper dyes from madder and alkanet roots, safflower, woad/indigo, kermes and lichens could mimic all sorts of purples effectively. Yet, the substitutes faded quickly. And ultimately, the typical smell of true purple could not be counterfeited.