Heritage Festival

Dying Fabric

3 - 9 April 2014, 4:00 - 9:00pm
Bahrain National Museum, Stall 12
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Women purchased natural dyes, herbs, and material from the local apothecary, peddlers and the cloth souk. Cotton, wool and silk were sold by the diraa hand measurement. Most materials were named after their design or the type of material or the country of origin. They were then dyed at home with herbs and mixtures including indigo, kart, crimson (qurmuz), yaft, faufal, henna leaves, and even rusty nails.

Pomegranate peels were steeped in boiling water to release the natural dye. After the mixture cooled, the fabric was immersed in a container for dye to take. The length of time the fabric remains in the mixture determines the strength of color. The fabric is then left to dry in a shaded area. The dying process is repeated if a darker share is desired and the color set with salt or shabba, a natural alum.

Since reuse was prevalent, old daffas were also immersed in a mixture of water, dates, and rusty nails for several days to restore shine and luster. This concoction is known as alnidwa.

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