Reference : Historical outline and chromatic properties of purpura rubra Tarentina and its potent...
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Historical outline and chromatic properties of purpura rubra Tarentina and its potential identification with purple dye extracted from Bolinus brandaris
Meiers, Fabienne mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
Treasures from the Sea : Sea-Silk and Shell purple dye in antiquity. Proceedings of the International workshop, 26.-28.05.
Enegren, Hedvig
Meo, Francesco
Oxbow Books
[en] purple ; dye ; bolinus ; Taranto ; Tarentum ; greek ; Italy ; antiquity ; shell ; vat ; history ; experiment ; archaeology ; red ; textile
[en] This paper presents a historical overview of the importance of the red dye found in spiny dye-murices (Bolinus brandaris) and its production in Taranto, one of the most industrious Greek colonies founded in southern Italy in the 8th century BC and renowned for its luxury products. Written evidence as well as numismatic and archaeological sources dating from the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD have been analysed in this context to identify purpura rubra Tarentina. In addition, the results of a series of dye experiments with hypobranchial glands from the same species are treated in order to detect chromatic properties and potential manufacturing processes for Tarentine Red. The methods for vatting the dye glands are discussed in relation to historical validity and chromatic outcome. To conclude, comparisons are drawn between the colour characteristics of Bolinus brandaris and Hexaplex trunculus (banded dye-murex), and the possibility of mixing both dyes is taken into consideration. The synthesis of historical and experimental approach finally shows that purpura rubra Tarentina can potentially be identified with purple dye extracted from Bolinus brandaris.
Centre for Textile Research
The Danish National Research Foundation
Researchers ; Students ; General public

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