are color substances that exist in nature and are not man-made. Humans have extracted these colors and used them for a long time. It is said that Phoenicians used to make the amethyst color by breaking and boiling seashells. Black was made using Mazo which is a substance produced by a gathering of insects. In 1856, William Perkin made a type of purple color by coal tar and other chemists following him made a lot of synthetic colors. Natural dyestuff are not identical in terms of the amount of color substances; some like oak, madder and saffron have more while some others such as plane or vine leaves contain less color. Good-quality natural colors are mostly found in warm regions and are not much known for the dyers of other areas. Therefore, they use chemical colors that are always at hand. Using natural colors in Iran has a long history and wheneverthe object of weaving is an artistic and valuable carpet, artists have no doubts in using natural colors. Among natural colors, the vegetable type is more of use. The primary substance of most rug colors in Iran has been vegetables for a long time. Natural colors are not only used individually to make the main colors (yellow, red, blue) but are also combined to create a lot of secondary colors in a wide spectrum from dark to light. Natural colors are in 3 types based on their origin:
- Vegetable colors
- Animal colors
- Mineral colors
Natural substances used to make colors can be summarized as follows:
- Types of red: madder, cochineal insect, a kind of seashell, sour cherry juice, red Baqam, blackberry, raspberry, root of wild barberry, a kind of pomegranate flower, and special lichen.
- Types of yellow: Esparak, vine, plane tree, cherry, tea, yellow wood, turmeric, saffron and sumac
- Types of green and blue: indigo and ultramarine
- Types of gray and dark colors: walnut shell, onion, pomegranate, bozqanj, joft and sumac
It should be noted that:
- A specific color can be made through different methods by various color substances. Dyers choose the best one based on their experience.
- The environment, color bowls and types of minerals are all effective in the final colors.
- The supplementary substances that are commonly used by dyers are: acetic acid, citric acid, oxalic acid, formic acid and lactic acid.
In Iranian villages, tamarind, dough, vinegar, and verjuice are used to make the dyeing environment acidic. Nowadays, considering the negative impacts of chemical colors on human and environmental health, dyers are more inclined to use vegetable colors.
- Book Encyclopedia carpets from Iran, Mr. Ahmad Daneshgar