The Cloth Is Steeped In This Mixture, And Allowed
To Remain Until It Has Acquired The Proper Shade.
In Kaarta and
Ludamar, where the indigo is not plentiful, they collect the leaves
and dry them in the sun; and when they wish to use them they reduce
a sufficient quantity to powder and mix it with the ley, as before
Either way the colour is very beautiful, with a fine
purple gloss, and equal in my opinion to the best Indian or European
blue. This cloth is cut into various pieces and sewed into garments
with needles of the natives' own making.
As the arts of weaving, dyeing, sewing, etc., may easily be
acquired, those who exercise them are not considered in Africa as
following any particular profession, for almost every slave can
weave, and every boy can sew. The only artists who are distinctly
acknowledged as such by the negroes, and who value themselves on
exercising appropriate and peculiar trades, are the manufacturers of
leather and of iron. The first of these are called karrankea (or,
as the word is sometimes pronounced, gaungay). They are to be found
in almost every town, and they frequently travel through the country
in the exercise of their calling. They tan and dress leather with
very great expedition, by steeping the hide first in a mixture of
wood-ashes and water until it parts with the hair, and afterwards by
using the pounded leaves of a tree called goo as an astringent.
They are at great pains to render the hide as soft and pliant as
possible, by rubbing it frequently between their hands and beating
it upon a stone.
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