The tables below show the main
tinctorial plants and insects used for dyeing yellow and red shades on rug
wool and the main dyes in each plant.
The list may seem very long, but
fortunately some dyes are likely to be found much more frequently and in
higher concentration than others on rugs. I believe also that some Eastern
Asian plants had only a local importance and never went West in any
Thus, I would guess that one can do a pretty good
TLC job with:
For yellows: powder samples of the first five plants
listed (Reseda Lutea, Matricaria chamomilla, Alium cepa, Delphinium zalil
and pomegranate). They will allow to identify the important dyes Luteolin,
Apigenin, Quercetin and Rhamnetin and two types of yellow
For reds: powder samples of Rubia tinctoria , indian
madder and american cochineal . Enough to identify on TLC plates all the
main red chromophores (Alizarin, pseudo purpurine, purpurine, munjistin
and carminic acid)
Blues are a piece of cake.
You may want
to addd a sample of Juglans regia, which main dye juglone was an excellent
brown (direct) dye and probably reasonably frequent, but perhaps less used
than brown wool shaded with the mentioned reds and indigo.
Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, has identified the natural dyes present
on a large number of its (turkish) rugs, the results were published in F.
Batari’s «Ottoman turkish Carpets». It gives a pretty good idea of which
dyes were important in this region of Rugdom, between XVI and mid XIX