Monday, August 17, 2015

Gadianton robbers dyed in blood

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,

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.


Clark Goble said...

What parts of the Americas was this tree found in? Seems like Brazil is pretty far south for most geographies. Not saying they are correct, just that this has to be considered in terms of ones larger metamodel of the Book of Mormon.

However the general approach of using dyes makes a lot of sense. Apparently the Portuguese recognized the tree due to a related tree in Asia (Sappanwood ) they were already trading as dye. (Contra some reports that this was new to Europe)

My understanding is that if we want to move north, then red dye was made using the cochineal beetle. However it was quite expensive (70,000 bugs for 1 lb of dye) It was however used for the red coats of British officers. Apparently the aztec warriors the Spanish encountered likely used this.

An other dye could be the chiote which was sometimes mixed with cacao beans to give it a red color. It doesn't appear to have been used on people or buildings though, from what I could tell.

An other bet might be the logwood which fits the region. But I don't know if it was ever used for body paint.

Michaela Stephens said...

I agree, Brazil seems rather far south. I would not rule out a very long distance trade. Other dye sources beside the tree are possible too.

I suppose closer, easier sources for the dye deserve the priority of first explanation,

Rozy Lass said...

Or they could have used animal blood, a continuous supply available every time an animal is slaughter to eat.

Morgan Deane said...

I can't comment about how they got this particular dye. But I did remember Sorenson mentioning how they got some long distance items. And I'm sure they had plenty of options to get red or crimson clothes. But the fanboy in me is totally geeking out over this! I think thats an awesome color and pictures. Thanks for sharing!