Excerpt from the Introduction

...The Leyden Papyrus X is in a remarkable state of preservation. It is formed of ten large leaves, each about thirty centimeters long and having a width of around thirty-four centimeters. It contains sixteen pages of writing of from twenty-eight to forty-seven lines each, in Greek capital letters such as were in use during the third century AD. It gives evidence of having been copied from still earlier documents and is full of grammatical errors and incorrect spellings. It is written in the form of a recipe book and the recipes are often in an abbreviated, incomplete form such as workers, more or less familiar with the nature of the process, would use. The total number of recipes given is 111. 75 of these deal with methods for purifying metals, making alloys, testing metals for purity, imitating precious metals, and coloring the surfaces of metals and alloys. There are fifteen recipes on methods for writing in letters of gold and silver. Eleven recipes deal with methods of making dyes and dyeing cloth in purple and other colors.
...The last recipes in the papyrus deal with methods of dying cloths. Various vegetable substances were applied to this purpose. There direct and indisputable evidence that the necessity and practice of mordanting cloth previous to dyeing it was well understood. The fact that the recipes are usually those for dyeing in purple shows that this papyrus was probably used in connection with royal or priestly workshops since the nobility were the only ones then generally permitted to wear purple. These recipes also expose the common fallacy that the ancient peoples only obtained their purple from the shellfish murex. They evidently used other dyes to a larger extent. The fact that the dyeing of cloths is so little touched upon in Leyden Papyrus X and was of such importance in ancient chemical arts leads us to believe that the papyrus gives us only a partial view of the state of ancient chemical art.

Citation Type  Prose
Citation Year 300