See (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigo_dye): “In Mesopotamia, a neo-Babylonian cuneiform tablet of the seventh century BC gives a recipe for the dyeing of wool, where lapis-colored wool (uqnatu) is produced by repeated immersion and airing of the cloth.[ St. Clair, Kassia (2016). The Secret Lives of Colour. London: John Murray. p. 189. ISBN 9781473630819. OCLC 936144129.] Indigo was most probably imported from India. The Romans used indigo as a pigment for painting and for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. It was a luxury item imported to the Mediterranean from India by Arab merchants.”
Is anyone able to get a scan of this recipe, translated into English?
Translation from an article by E. Leichty called: “A Collection of Recipes for Dyeing” https://www.reddit.com/…/clay_cuneiform_tablet_with…/
“… you should hang (it) together in water. You should boil (it) over a fire.
… you should crush … and lapis-color wool …
… (in plain) water and water from a ditch you should boil (it) over a fire
… (you will obtain) ḫašmānu-color wool.
… (and) alum you should hang together in water. You should boil (it) over a fire.
You should pulverize ḫatḫūru-dye into spring water. (And with) lapis-dye you should hang (it) all together in water. You should boil (it) over a fire. You should prostrate yourself. (You will obtain) lapis-color wool.
You throw kasû-plant in water. You boil (it) over a fire. You filter (it). You should take white wool (and) dip it in. You should boil (it) over a fire. You should prostrate yourself. (You will obtain) argammanu-color wool.
You should take white wool and hang (it) together with alum in water. You should boil (it) over a fire.
You should pulverize ḫatḫuru-dye into spring water and you should take white wool. These together you should boil in (plain) water and water from (potter’s) clay over a fire. You should prostrate yourself and (you will obtain) argamannu-color wool.
You should comb wool. …
You should boil (it) over a fire. Into water …
Either inzaḫurētu-dye …
You should hang (it) together in water …
A few notes:
- ḫašmānu is probably a blue-green color, perhaps deriving from the name of a stone.
- ḫatḫūru is a dye, maybe purple? Might also be connected to the word for a type of apple, which can also be the name of a color.
- kasû is some form of spice-plant, often referring to the seeds themselves. Might be a type of mustard seed?
- argammanu is a red/purple wool.
- inzaḫurētu is a red dye.
Now it should be said that this translation doesn’t include the new fragments joined recently, we’re waiting on a new improved translation of those fragments. And of course as always, any identification of these terms with real plants/dyes is speculative.”