Travels In The Interior Of Africa - Volume 2 of 2 - By Mungo Park

 -   The cloth is steeped in this mixture, and allowed
to remain until it has acquired the proper shade.  In Kaarta - Page 80
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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 mentioned.

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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