Tamburini, Diego, Breitung, Eric, Mori, Chika, Kotajima, Tomoko, Clarke, Matthew L., and McCarthy, Blythe. 2020. "Exploring the transition from natural to synthetic dyes in the production of 19th-century Central Asian ikat textiles." Heritage Science 8 (1):114-114. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-020-00441-9
This study focuses on the dye analysis of 26 ikat textiles present in the collection of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and originally collected by Dr. Guido Goldman with the aim to gain additional information about their provenance and dating. The investigation exploits the full potential of a multi-analytical approach, starting with a non-invasive survey of all the colors using fiber optic reflectance spectroscopy (FORS), which revealed the presence of indigo and insect-based red dyes. These data were used to select areas from which samples were taken and analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography diode array detector (HPLC-DAD). These results enabled most of the natural sources of dyes to be fully identified, including American cochineal (Dactylopius coccus), madder (probably Rubia tinctorum), lac (probably Kerria lacca), larkspur (Delphinum semibarbatum), pagoda tree flower buds (Sophora japonica), grape vine leaves (Vitis vinifera), indigo and tannins. Complex mixtures of dyes were present in most samples, as a result of both the ikat making process itself and traditional dyeing practices. Synthetic dyes were identified in 9 of the textiles. Samples were re-analyzed using HPLC-DAD coupled to mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-MS). Malachite green (basic green 4, C.I. 42000), fuchsine (basic violet 14, C.I. 42510), rhodamine B (basic violet 10, C.I. 45170) and methyl violet (basic violet 1, C.I. 42535) were identified, and a few other tentatively identified synthetic dyes (probably orange I, II and IV, rhodamine 6G, patent blue V and alizarin yellow GG) were detected. As the first synthesis of early synthetic dyes is well documented, their presence was used to refine the dating of these textiles. The contextualization of the results also appeared to support the stylistic assumption that more intricate and colorful designs with a higher level of complexity are dated earlier than simpler, larger and more graphic ones. The overall information acquired reveals a dynamic scenario and an interesting window into the dyers' experiments and adjustments to the economic and technological changes of the nineteenth century.