Woad Experiments

The use of woad to tattoo / paint / stain skin has long been disputed. Caeser (The Conquest Of Gaul) recorded: “Omnes vero se Britanni vitro inficiunt, quod caeruleum efficit colorem.” – “All the Britons dye their bodies with woad [or glass] , which produces a blue colour…” Pliny backed him up by saying that the colour resembled “…that of Ethiopians.” But is this really woad?

Woad makes a poor paint as it has to be mixed with something else and tends to flake off flexible skin. It makes a worse tattooing ink!

So here it is, a woad dyed foot. Designs made with beeswax resist, in a similar way to batik. Who knows if anyone was doing this in 50 BC, but it’s certainly something to add to the possibilities!

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We shall see how it fades or wears off over the next few hours and days, watch this space! (and these toes…)

UPDATE:    The morning after…

No wear overnight and looking bluer in daylight:

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UPDATE: Blue feet on the BBC

We’re 2500 years ago, on the banks of the Thames near Reading…
Cut to 16.50 for woad dyeing.

“Making History” BBC Radio 4, 23/08/2016

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