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.

91. The Fixation of Alkanet.

Urine of sheep, or arbute-berry, or henbane in the same manner.

92. Falsification of Alkanet

Alkanet is diluted with pine cones, the inside part of peaches, purpura, beet juice, dregs of wine, the urine of a camel and the interior of citrons.

93. Fixation of Alkanet

Navelwort and alum mixed in equal parts. crush finely (and) throw the alkanet in it."

94. Styptic agents

Melantheria, calcined copperas, alum, chalcitis, cinnabar, lime, bark of pomegranit, pod of a thorny tree, urine with aloes. These things serve in dying.

95. The Preparation of Purple

Break into small pieces Stone of Phrygia; put it to boiling, and having immersed the wool, leave it until it cools. Then throwing in the vessel a mina of seaweed, put it to boiling and throw in it (again) a mina of seaweed. Let it boil and throw the wool into it, and letting cool, wash in sea water...[the stone of Phrygia is roasted before being broken]...until the purple coloration appears.

96. Dyeing with Purple (Two Methods)

Grind lime with water and let it stand overnight. Having decanted, deposit the wool in the liquid for a day; take it out (and) dry it; having sprinkled the alkanet with some vinegar, put it to boiling and throw the wool in it and it will come out dyed in purple...alkanet boiled with water and natron produces the purple color.
Then dry the wool, and dye it as follows: boil the seaweed with water and when it has been exhausted, throw in the water an imperceptible quantity of copperas, in order to develop the purple, and then plunge the wool into it, and it will be dyed. If there is too much copperas, it becomes darker.

97. Another

Grind some walnuts with some alkanet of good quality. This done, place them in some strong vinegar; grind again; add some pomegranate bark to this; lay aside three days; and after this, plunge the wool in it and it will be dyed cold...It is said that there is a certain acanthus which furnishes the purple color; moistened with some natron of Berenice in place of nuts, it produces the same effect.

98. Another

Clean the wool with fullers plant, and hold at your disposal some lamellose alum. Then grinding the interior part of gall-nut, throw it in a pot with the alum, then put in the wool and let it remain several hours. Take it out and let it dry. Follow this procedure first: Having ground the lees (from wine) and having placed them in a vessel, pour in sea water, agitate and set aside. Then, decant the clear water into another vessel and hold it at your disposal. Taking the alkanet and placing it in a vessel, mix with the water from the lees until it thickens conveniently and becomes as though sandy. Then place the product in a vessel, diluting it by estimation with the preceding water which comes from the alkanet. Then, when it has become as though slimy, place it in a small kettle, add it to the remainder of the alkanet water, and leave until lukewarm. Then plunge the wool in it, lay aside several hours, and you will find the purple fast.

99. Another

Taking alkanet and some leontice, strip off the bark, take it and grind it as fine as stibnite in a mortar. Add to it some hydromel diluted with water, grind again, place the ground product in a vessel and boil. When you observe (the liquid) to be lukewarm, plunge the wool in it (and) let it remain. The wool ought to be cleaned with fullers plant and thickened. Then take it, plunge it in lime water; let it soak; take it out; wash thoroughly with some sea salt (and) dry. Plunge it again in the alkanet and let it remain.

100. Another

Take the juice of the upper part of the alkanet and a solid gall nut roasted in the oven. Having ground it with the addition of a little copperas, mix with the juice, boil, and make the purple dye.

101. A Substitute for Greenish-Blue color

In place of greenish-blue color, take scoria of iron, crush it with care until reduced to the appearance of smegma, and boil it with some vinegar until it becomes stiff. Immerse the wool, previously cleaned with heavy fullers herb, and you will find it dyed in purple. Dye in this way with the colors that you have.