Monday, December 12, 2016

Rose Madder

No, not the Stephen King book but the dye.

Halfway through Lent and Advent (both seasons of penance that used to be taken seriously before Vatican II), the priests, instead of wearing the violet "penitence" color vestments changes to Pink, In the midst of season stressing sorrow for sin and repentance, it is sort of a break to remind us to rejoice in the Lord.

Post Vatican II, of course, no one bothers with confession or penitence, albeit our priest last week reminded us to go to confession (now if they only would post when they heard confessions  in our church I might be able to go).

well, anyway, last Sunday was Gaudete Sunday, the name coming from one of the Latin prayers at the beginning of mass:

or in English:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. 

Father Z has various examples of traditional vestments and discusses the various shades. Most seem to be quite expensive silk, which would be expensive but which lasts for years if cared for. If you are into textiles you might want to check out some of the photos there.

Our priest wore a plain pink mauve polyester one that probably a few dollars to make .

At the end of a long digression from the Maturin books by O'Brien, he comments:

The shades of vestments have a lot to do with the history of trade and of dyes.

awhile back, I had a post about brazil wood and red dye.

Ah, but pink comes from the roots of the herb Rose Madder. (AKA Turkey Red).

from Wikipedia:

Early evidence of dyeing comes from India where a piece of cotton dyed with madder has been recovered from the archaeological site at Mohenjo-daro (3rd millennium BCE).[1]
In Sanskrit, this plant is known by the name Manjishtha. It was used by hermits to dye their clothes saffron. Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder (De Re Natura) mention the plant (Rubia passiva).
In Viking age levels of York, remains of both woad and madder have been excavated. The oldest European textiles dyed with madder come from the grave of the Merovingian queen Arnegundis in Saint-Denis near Paris (between 565 and 570 AD). In the "Capitulare de villis" of Charlemagne, madder is mentioned as "warentiam". The herbal of Hildegard of Bingen mentions the plant as well.
The red coats of the British Redcoats were dyed with madder, after earlier being dyed with cochineal.[2] Turkey red was a strong, very fast red dye for cotton obtained from madder root via a complicated multistep process involving "sumac and oak galls, calf's blood, sheep's dung, oil, soda, alum, and a solution of tin."[3] Turkey red was developed in India and spread to Turkey. Greek workers familiar with the methods of its production were brought to France in 1747, and Dutch and English spies soon discovered the secret. A sanitized version of Turkey red was being produced in Manchester by 1784, and roller-printed dress cottons with a Turkey red ground were fashionable in England by the 1820s.[4][5]ar

another history of the herb, and how you can make it if you are into natural dyes for your textile art, can be found at Wild

and, if you read Father Z's long quotation from O'Briens book, this site explains what the good doctor was trying to figure out:

Madder root was fed to white horses to colour hooves and teeth, and to hawks to colour beak and talons. There is even a mention of feeding madder plants to sheep to dye their wool
more about ancient dyes HERE.

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