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ANAHITA  May 1998

ANAHITA May 1998

Subject:

Re: Ancient Hair Dye

From:

SheMichael <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 22 May 1998 18:47:46 EDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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Lucas attests the presence of henna on mummies from a variety of dynasties in
_Ancient Egyptian Materials & Industries_.  Those of us who use it, though,
know better than to boil it.  Boiling water is poured _on_ the lawsonia
powder, to make the dye paste: but Aristophanies may be using some license in
the description.  There are many ways to modify the color, too, & some of
those may or might involve boiling before addition to the powder.  (Coffee &
tea are modern, but both are boiled before they're poured in.)  Honey, which
is needed to prevent drying, can be boiled in the liquid added.  Turmeric,
vinegar (or citrus juice) are not.  I suppose rhubarb juice would not be.  In
truth, I don't know what dyes Greeks might have used to adulterate henna:
indigo? pomegranate rind? Henna must also be kept warm for at least half-an-
hour before use, so it might be steamed, & that would fit a description of
boiling.

Sheila Shiki y Michaels


In a message dated 98-05-21 21:45:57 EDT, you write:

<< Aristophanes (Ecclesiazusae 735) mentions a certain Lysicrates' boiling a
 _pharmakon_ to dye his hair.  It's only a simile and not central to the
 narrative, but it's relevant to my study of pharmaka.  Does anyone know
 about ancient Mediterranean hair dye products?  References to primary or
 secondary sources would be appreciated.  Thanks.
  >>

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