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Constantine Porphyrogenitus, (Basil reigned from 867 to 886,) mention is made of richly dyed cloths and carpets; and the fishers for purple (oxyxvanute) are noticed as exempted from military service in the reign of Romanus Lecapenus (935), which you find in Constantine Porphyrogepitus's De Administrando Imperio, cap. 52. But I have no means of ascertaining whether the shell was the same species of Murex as that used in Phænicia or not. It is, however, almost certain, from the general similarity of all the shells found on the coasts of Greece and Syria, which, I am told, almost universally correspond in species, and from the fact of Benjamin of Tudela mentioning Jerusalem and Thebes as two towns where Jews were great purple dyers. Their removal to Thebes would be caused by the advantage of living on the spot where the silk was manufactured, and their secret in dying purple would of course be the Phænician method."
Walker, in his Irish Bards, enumerates the colours and dying materials used by the ancient Irish, as black, crimson, purple, and yellow.
“There is,” says he, "a beautiful crimson obtained from the periwinkle, and a kind of limpet, of red, white, black, yellow, brown, and saud colours. The fish is laid with its mouth downward on some solid body, and the shell broke, but so as not to bruise the fish. When the shell is picked off, there appears a white vein, lying transversely in a furrow, next the head, which may be taken out by a bodkin, or other pointed instrument. If periwinkles are used, the shell is not to be broken. The vein lying on the head, on being pricked with a pin, distils a few drops of a white milky liquor, without injuring the fish, which may be pricked thus once a day for four or five times. The letters, &c. drawn on the linen with this liquor, obtained from either fish, first appear a light green, then a deep green, and, in a few miutes, turn to a full sea-green; then, a blue, afterwards a deep purple red, and all in a few hours, if exposed to the
But, after washing it in hot water and soap, the purple becomes a beautiful bright crimson, which nothing can change.”- Walker's Irish Bards, Vol. II. p. 261.
At Nycoya, in the West Indies, Gage found a shell, resembling the ancient purpura, and used for a like purpose ; but the descriptions of this author are so very like those of Pliny, as to their hiding before the rise of the dog-star, disappearing for three hundred days, &c. that he seems to have studied the latter too closely. At Guayaquil, in South America, there was, some time ago, a considerable manufactory of this article, and the cloths dyed with it were only allowed to be worn by the Spanish lords. It is also known to the inhabitants of the South Sea and Carribean Islands, where it is called Burgum.
In 1684, Mr. W. Code, of Bristol, made a communication upon this subject to the Royal Society of London, in which he states that he obtained a purple dye from the Buccinum Lapillus, found on the coast of Somersetshire, and North Wales, similar to that found on the coast of Pitou; and also states, that at that time a trade was carried on in Ireland,
by persons who went about marking handkerchiefs and linen, with a dye obtained, likewise, from the Buccinum Lapillus. Phil. Trans. vol. ii.
This art is still known to some of the people on the Wicklow coast.
In the fifth vol. of the “ Belfast Magazine,” (1810,) there is an account of some recent experiments performed on this colouring matter, extracted from Montague's Testacea Britannica. In this case the animal used was likewise the Buccinum Lapillus, and afterwards the Turbo Clathrus. These experiments I have repeated with the Buccinum Lapillus, and they gave the like result. Those I made use of were collected by my friend Dr. Farran, at Howth and Malahide, where they abound in such quantities on the rocks, that tons weight of them could be collected in a short time.
On breaking the shell, the colouring fluid will be found contained in a receptacle, lying in a sulcus behind the neck of the animal. tacle can be at once distinguished by the whitish-grey colour of the fluid that it contains, and by its tortuous, worm-like appearance.
On removing this, which is of the consistence of cream, with a sharp-pointed instrument, and applying it to any linen, woollen, cotton, or silken textures, it, in a few seconds, assumes a straw-colour, then a light green; presently, the margin of the coloured part becomes a pinkish red, and, as the drying proceeds, the whole deepens into a vivid purple, which, on washing, increases in lustre and intensity. It must, however, be exposed to solar light, and the more intense the light, the sooner will the changes of colour take place, and the more beautiful the tint produced.
To show the effect of light upon this substance, the following experiment may be instanced. I soaked a piece of flannel in a solution of this juice, and pinned it against the window-frame, in a strong light; having been called away, I did not remove the bit of flannel for above two hours. When I returned, I found that the side next the light had assumed the usual purple colour, but the reverse side, that away from the light, and which was also perfectly dry, had remained a green-that hue which is the second step in the transition; and this colour remained fixed.
I do not believe that there was any mordant used to strike or fix the dye, for it is an animal indigo, and contains a mordant in itself; there was no need, therefore, of the tin which the ships of Tarshish brought from Cornwall being used for this purpose. And the salt, mentioned by Pliny, seems to me to have been used, not as a mordant, but in order to purge out the juice from the animals ; Templeman, however, has proved that salt has no effect whatever.
“ It was found,” says the writer of the article in the Belfast Magazine, and I have had similar results, “that after the colour was fixed at its last natural change, nitrous, no more than vitriolic acid, had no other effect than that of rather brightening it; aqua regia, with and without solution of tin, and marine acid, produced no change; nor had any fixed or volatile alkali any sensible effect.”
I have found that the colour decreases in lustre by the animal being kept for any time out of its natural element. From the experiments upon the Turbo Clathrus I quote the following
“ As the animal becomes sickly by keeping for some days in sea-water, it frequently discharges a most beautiful purple liquor. This circumstance was known to Plancus, who observes that it was one of those shells which yield the purple dye of the Mediterranean; and which is also recorded by Martini. It may, indeed, with much reason, be conjectured that this is really one of the shells from the animal of which the ancients procured their famous purple dye; though if Pliny is consulted, the shells that produced this precious colour were either Murices or Buccines, or both. • Glowing with Tyrian Murex,' is an expression of Virgil, that indicates it to have been collected from shells of that genus only; but we must recollect that conchology was, at the time of those writers, in its very infancy ; scarcely systematized, or formed into any divisions, so that Turbo Clathrus may possibly have some claim to the credit of contributing to the celebrated Tyrian Murex.”
The colour of this animal differs, however, materially from that of the Buccinum Lapillus, for
“ Mineral acids turn it to a bluish green, or sea-green; sulphuric acid renders it a shade more inclining to blue : vegetable acids probably do not affect it, since cream of tartar did not in the least alter it. These colours laid on paper, were very bright, and appeared for some months unchanged by the action of the air, or the sun; but being exposed for a whole summer to the solar rays, in a south window, they almost vanished. The application of alkali to the acidulated colour always restored it to its primitive state, and was as readily changed again by mineral acid; in particular, it differs materially from the succus of Buccinum Lapillus, which we have before remarked is unalterable. Its property is materially different from litmus, which is turned from blue to red, with the most trifling mixture of
It differs, also, from vegetable colours in general by not being affected by alkali, which turns the infusion of blue or purple flowers to green.”
No reliance can, I conceive, be placed on the accounts of the ancients, as to what the exact animal was; some supposing it to have been a Purpura, some a Murex, and others a Buccinum or a Turbo; all of which do, no doubt, yield a dye, but the finding of the breccia of the Murex Trunculus, in the dye-pots at Tyre, is, I think, conclusive.
There is, I understand, a tradition among Irish antiquaries, that the shells were found on this coast, and that it was for this purpose the Tyrians voyaged so far west. This, however, is not very likely, when the shells that give the colouring matter were found, so abundantly, near home, and the Murex Trunculus is not found here ; besides, unless they manufactured it on the Irish coast, it would be of little worth, for, unlike cochineal, the colour fades on the death of the animal.
Stone mortars, similar to those found at Tyre, were in use among the
ancient Egyptians; and several of the mummy clothes have a blue crossstripe above the end or selvedge. This colour, Mr. Thompson supposed to be the product of indigo, and this opinion is adopted by Mr. Wilkinson ; but the tests used by the former, prove it as well to have been the Tyrian, or conchilian colour ; and this is the more probable, from the Hebrews carrying along with them not only the art, but very likely the materials to manufacture it with, as I have endeavoured to prove in the previous part of this essay; and if it be established that all these colours were the produce, or, at least, the manufacture of Tyre, it proves the existence and commercial importance of that place as far back as when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness.
I trust some of our enterprising manufacturers will institute an inquiry as to the possibility of turning the shells producing a colouring matter, that inhabit our shores, to account. Some valuable information on this subject may be found in the work of Amati, called, “Purpura Restituta," Reaumur's Experiments on the Buccinum of Poitou, Duhamal's Experiments on the Mediterranean Mollusca, Fabius Columna De Purpura, Vitruvius De Architect, 1, 7, c. 13. See, also, Cuvier's Animal Kingdom, Donovan's, and most other conchological works.
ANATOMICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HEADS FOUND IN THE ACELDAMA,
AND DESCRIPTION OF THE CRANIUM OF A MODERN EGYPTIAN.
In the skull belonging to the Ethiopian variety, figured at page 515, the nasal bones are rather more prominent than in the generality of this race, and the tube of the ear is a little lower down than in most skulls that I have examined. Independent of the general characters of the heads of this variety, as I have enumerated them at pages 513 and 514, I may notice the following peculiarities or distinctions between that figured in the text and the European or Caucasian form of cranium.
Besides the greater density and strength of the malar or cheek-bone, it presents a much larger lateral surface than in the Caucasian, and a greater hollow or depression at its junction with the orbital process of the frontal. The posterior surface of the superior maxillary bone is, likewise, more convex externally, and the external pterygoid plates stronger. The other peculiarities of the lateral view are well exhibited in the engraving.
Professor Owen has, with his usual talent and observation, drawn attention to the analysis of the basis cranii of different skulls. A few words on the comparisons of this and the other crania represented in the text may not be amiss. The outline of the base is longer, and its sides flatter; the foramen magnum is more elliptical ; but its anterior edge is on a plane anterior to the anterior margin of the mastoid processes. The occipital condyles look more outwards, the basilar process is longer and narrower
than in Europeans, the glenoid cavity is much deeper, and the hard palate is shallower and less arched.
The pyramidal skull of the Mongolian variety represented at page 316, differs, however, from the true or well-marked Mongolian in the following particulars :—The face is not quite so flat or confluent; the zigoma is not quite so prominent laterally, and more rounded at its junction with the malar or cheek-bone. The alveolar process, or the sockets for the teeth, projects rather much, so as to throw out the teeth at a small angle with the upper jaw, in this respect approaching the negro race; the nasal bones are more prominent, and have a very deep notch at their junction with the forehead or frontal bone. This peculiarity Dr. Prichard says he has observed in Australian and Polynesian skulls; but another head that I removed from the left-hand chamber of this tomb, wants this, and possesses more of the Chinese feature. And he also says, that he has seen Esquimaux heads, that they very much resembled, and that in some particulars they are like those artificially-shaped craniæ brought from Peru; but a glance at this skull, and at one of those altered by artificial means, will at once explain the difference. The orbits preserve much of this Mongul peculiarity, being long, large, deep, set widely apart, and having the lower edge on a plain posterior to the upper.
I know not whether the remark be original, but it has struck me as being extraordinary, that the knob at the top of this skull, which is so characteristic of the pyramidal heads to which this belongs, and which might be adduced as one of the characteristic distinctions of a particular race, is chiefly found among those nations who shave the scalp, except a long tuft of hair left at top, growing from this part of the crown of the head. Such is the practice, and such the heads among the Chinese, Kalmucs, and Turks, who are descendants of the Turcomans, a true Mongul race. Homer mentions that the Thracians, another Turanian people, wore the hair only on the crown of the head. I have frequently observed in the barber's shops in the east, that the heads of young boys did not possess this knob, even comparatively with the men; and from this circumstance I am inclined to suppose, that their wearing this tuft on the top of their heads, is partly the cause of the protuberance, especially as, when uncovered, they are constantly pulling and twisting it in their fingers.
The engraving of the mixed variety at page 518, is the skull of an old edentulous person, probably a female ; so thin as to be almost diaphanous in many places, and is particularly light and friable. The zigomæ are slightly arched, and project somewhat beyond the lateral surface of the head. The nasal bones are rather prominent; the alveolar process is wholly absorbed, and the hard palate very narrow; the condyles are on a plane with the extremity of the mastoid processes. The want of frontal development, and extremely small size of this head, give it some of the characters of that of an idiot ; but there were many such in the same chamber.
To enter into a more minute detail of all the anatomical characters of these heads would be foreign to a work such as this.