THE HISTORICAL ADVENTURE OF BLUE DYE INDIGO PLANT

Abstract

Author(s): G羹lcan Batur ERC?VAN

The indigo plant is used globally for obtaining blue dye. The indigo plant, also known by the Latin name “indigofera”, has 800 local species in tropical and subtropical regions. Among the indigo plant family, “indigofera tinctoria L.” dye plant is considered the most effective species for blue color dyeing and has approximately a dozen different types. This tropical plant can provide a wide spectrum of bright blue color ranging from navy-blue to pale blue. Indigo dyestuff has been commonly used in various geographic regions for its high quality bright blue color. Plant-based indigo dyeing has been traditionally used for centuries in a wide geographic scope including the Mediterranean Basin, Africa, Far East, China, Malesia, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Java and Archipelago, South America and Peru. In this article, historical course of the dye plant Indigofera tinctoria and its symbolic associations in ancient cultures were addressed in detail. Morphological characteristics, cultivation, botanic classification of tropical indigo plant, traditional indigo jar dyeing techniques, and the importance of natural indigo dyeing were reviewed based on literature search.

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