Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America.


In the past, each civilization throughout the world has selected its own specific range of plant and animal sources of color, each from their respective natural environments. These included dyes and colorants that were used for the hair and skin, for everyday or festive food, for clothing and furnishing textiles, matting, etc. Scientific research into the colorants present in historical and anthropological textiles and objects have revealed a common empiric logic for this selection, and astonishing parallels can be found in the technical processes developed by ancient and traditional dyers of all continents. This lecture will consist of a discussion of case studies exemplifying these themes in the light of recent research, while examining the global heritage of color.