Dyes from antiquity to synthesis

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Dyeing and painting activities have accompanied the development of human culture since the early beginnings. The art was developed by trial and error using natural dyes available from vegetable and animal sources, and different cultures, in many cases totally unrelated and unconnected among them, were able to build up similar techniques for extracting the active principles and applying them to textiles. Although the addition of new dyes from the New World significantly enlarged the palette of colours available and added new natural sources for the same, the available base materials lasted until the second half of the eighteenth century when synthetic dyes came into the market and essentially replaced the ones that had been used for thousands of tears.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-100
Number of pages26
JournalIndian Journal of History of Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004


  • Animal dyes
  • Dye and dye stuff
  • Primitive method
  • Synthetic dye
  • Vegetable dyes


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