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Contemporary Knowledge of Dye Plant Species and Natural Dye Use in Kurdish Autonomous Region, Iraq
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organism Biology, Systematic Biology.
2010 (English)In: Economic Botany, ISSN 0013-0001, E-ISSN 1874-9364, Vol. 64, no 2, 137-148 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contemporary knowledge of dye plant species and natural dye use in Kurdish Autonomous Region, Iraq In Kurdistan, natural dyes once played an important role in the life of nomads as they wild-crafted and traded natural dyes for their survival. They learned from their family how to find, harvest, process, and dye with natural dyes. Abandonment of weaving and the nomadic life, and recent changes in the economy have contributed to significant changes in the natural dyeing culture. Traditional knowledge of natural dyeing plants is no longer common among weavers. This study documents the surviving knowledge of dye plant species and assesses the transmission of knowledge between elderly weavers and a younger generation of weavers' apprentices. Information on dyeing and dyeing plants was elicited through a species recognition task using picture cards, a pile-sorting task, and through in-depth interviews with nomads in the mountains of the Soran district as well as weaving teachers and students in the city of Erbil, Kurdish Autonomous Region, Iraq. Consensus analysis of pile-sorting data supports the hypothesis that informants belong to a single culture. The results confirm the erosion of natural dyeing culture in Kurdistan and stress the need to stimulate knowledge transfer from the elderly, empirical generation to the younger, learning generation. The study also uncovered the existence of a keen interest among the student informants in traditional herbal medicine. If this trend is true for Kurdish urban youth in general, then it could lead to a revival and perpetuation of traditional plant knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 64, no 2, 137-148 p.
Keyword [en]
Natural dyes, Kurdish Autonomous Region, Iraq, weaving, dyeing plants, traditional ecological knowledge, ethnobotany
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-135575DOI: 10.1007/s12231-010-9118-zISI: 000278522200004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-135575DiVA: diva2:377543
Available from: 2010-12-14 Created: 2010-12-07 Last updated: 2010-12-14Bibliographically approved

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