Ancient Dyeing Techniques from Pompeii revived

Pompeii’s director, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, has been overseeing a project reviving ancient crafts and production techniques within the archaeological Pompeii park. Inside the Pompeii archaeological site, a new project is reviving ancient textile dyeing techniques to show another side of daily life before the city was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. The inspiration for this endeavour stems from frescoes discovered within the archaeological site depicting winged cupids dyeing cloth, harvesting grapes for wine, and crafting perfumes. For Zuchtriegel, "textile dyeing is another way to bring Pompeii back to life for modern visitors.“ It is part of a scientific and cultural project to create awareness that history is not only the big monuments and beautiful paintings,” he said. “There’s also another history, of the economy, the daily life, the lives of the majority which often are not represented in the great narratives.”To bring this project to fruition, Zuchtriegel enlisted the expertise of Claudio Cutuli, one of the world's few remaining master dyer.  Cutuli utilises dyes derived from plants in his own Pompeii-inspired clothing line. For instance, he employs the root of "rubia tinctorum," or rose madder, to achieve the renowned Pompeian red. Additionally, walnut husks contribute to brown, elderberries to black and gray, and cardamom to amber, yellow, and various shades of green.

The splendid frescoes of the Vettii house come to life on ecological fabrics made of nettle yarn and natural colors extracted directly from ancient dyeing plants, such as those currently reproduced in the nursery of the ancient city of Pompeii.  They are the scarves made in three different designs by the Master dyer Claudio Cutuli of the Intrecci Creativi association, artisan dyers and weavers for generations, as part of a partnership with the Archaeological Park of Pompeii which aims to enhance the ancient heritage through an eco-sustainable approach of recovery of traditional materials and techniques of dyeing art.

The scarves worked entirely by hand on ancient looms and dyed with selected and refined raw materials will be on sale all over the world and 50% of the proceeds will be allocated to the restoration of artifacts in Pompeii Park. The partnership is part of the various initiatives that see private entities interact with the broader Pompeii agricultural company project, in which the Park is investing. A project aimed at the redevelopment and valorisation of the numerous green areas of the various sites of the Park - through activities ranging from olive growing, wine growing, floriculture, fruit and cereal growing, to which are added those of beekeeping and grazing, woodland cultivation and nursery farming - with the aim to protect biodiversity, carry out environmental education, respecting and updating the interpretation of the cultivation techniques and methods of the ancient world, respecting the archaeological nature of the sites, and thus encouraging good practices towards the communities of the surrounding area.

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