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76. Coat. Turkmenistan, Islamic, mid-19th century or earlier. Silk embroidery on handspun red wool lined with machine-printed Russian silk edged with ­cochineal-dyed ikat silk and bast fiber; 50¾ x 72½ in. (129 x 184 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Hajji Baba Club and The Page and Otto Marx Jr. Foundation Gifts, in memory of Newton Foster, 1998 (1998.244)

(fig. 75) confirms that the dyestuff continued to find use in the 1800s. In India, easy access to locally produced lac dye had fostered long-standing practices in textile production. The English began shipping cochineal to Surat soon after a textile factory was established there in 1612, but demand for it was slight until the nineteenth century. Following the pathways of the ancient trade routes, red insect dyes (of the Polish type) originating from Russia found their way via Bukhara into Kashgar in China and Kabul and Heraˉt in Afghanistan. Bukhara was also a distribution point for American cochineal, perhaps coming via Canton. By 1834, however, British explorer Alexander Burnes, a player in the struggle between the British and Russian empires for control of central Asia, was implying that in the

markets of the Punjab in northwest India, American cochineal from the southern Indian ports had displaced the more local insect dyes obtained from Bukhara.39 The lining of an embroidered coat from Turkmenistan (fig. 76) has been edged with nineteenthcentury ikat silk that was resist-dyed locally with American cochineal.40 In Japan, conservative artisans persisted in the production of traditional textiles revered for their refined and sophisticated art forms. They utilized ageold processes to create dyed textiles in a variety of techniques including resist (shibori), stenciling, and hand painting. For the color red, which denoted both luxury and sensuality, the textile artisans kept to their traditional dye sources, safflower and Japanese madder (akane). One element of Japanese society did 45

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Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color  

Elena Phipps The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Winter 2010 Volume LXVII, Number 3 Copyright © 2010 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art,...

Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color  

Elena Phipps The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Winter 2010 Volume LXVII, Number 3 Copyright © 2010 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art,...

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