Sometimes I find clues about the Book of Mormon in the oddest places.
I found a Nanowrimo forum thread in which the first poster asked if it was possible for things to be dyed in blood. At first I thought, yes because I remembered there was a verse in the Book of Mormon about how the Gadianton robbers attacking the Nephites in 3 Nephi were dyed in blood.
But, there are some science things to consider-- assuming the blood was left in for long periods of time, the blood would eventually coagulate and get sticky, turn dark brown.
In order for the Gadianton robbers to retain their alarming appearance, they would have to constantly wash or splash themselves in new blood.
Or it might just look like blood.
So, how did the Gadianton’s acquire their appearance at the beginning of the battle of being dyed in blood?
Here was a comment from a Nanowrimo participant:
“If you are interested in dye from corpuses, your character could have made a dye from pau brasil tree. Its [sic] the plant that named Brasil and its [sic] sap is bright red - if you hack the tree it looks like its bleeding. The sap is such a powerful dye that the tree nearly went extinct because portuguese colonizers would cut it down to make dye for Europe.. Not as powerful as blood dye, but it could work. “ (Flavia Denise, http://nanowrimo.org/forums/reference-desk/threads/193281)
Let's get a visual here. We like pictures..
This suggests that the Gadianto robbers had access to the Pau-Brasil/Brazilwood tree and dyed their garments in it so as to achieve the effect of fearsomeness that made them so intimidating.