indigo book b

Book on Indigo, from Egyptian Mummies to Blue Jeans by Jenny Balfour-Paul. It’s a fascinating read – perhaps because “the subject embraces so many disciplines in the sciences and the arts – botany, chemistry, ethnography, economics, medicine, art, textile and social history…” as the author writes in the preface. It traces the past of the blue dye and the way it has been woven into history on more than 200 A4 pages, illustrated with beautiful, inspiring and sometimes rather quirky images. While reading about indigo one can learn a lot about other cultures, their history and dyeing practice.


indigo book 2

what an interesting outfit! dark robes with hats of such unusual shape

women planting garlic in the Hadramaut valley of eastern Yemen, 1985; many of them were wearing ‘black indigo’ dresses, dyed in cheap black dyes but given a final dipping in a traditional indigo vat


indigo book 4

crumpled cloth, tied in a bundle before dyeing; collected in the 1860s in the Gambia or Liberia


indigo book 3

Indigo dye pots, one covered with bamboo leaves to protect it. Northern Sumatra, 1980


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