Natural tones from different breeds of animals gave some variety to fabric colors as brown and black goat hair were incorporated into garments as well as were white, gray, and yellow wool. Available natural dyes and variable natural tones offered a wide spectrum of colors possibilities.

Mixing of dyes and fabrics could result in colors such as green, orange, brown, yellow, black, and pink-each with varied shades. However, according to the Greek historian and geographer Strabo, the natural Tyrian purple, a purplish red produced buy sea snails, was considered the most beautiful color of all throughout ancient history.

Those who could afford them preferred colorful garments. Biblical descriptions indicate that dyed textiles were generally reserved for special garments and occasions. In Exod 26:1, indigo, purple, and scarlet are listed as hues of tabernacle furnishing. Jealousy over favoritism in the gift of a brightly colored coat is reflected in Joseph’s conflict with his brothers (Gen 37:3-4).

An image of a Semitic family traveling to Egypt while wearing this type of multi-colored fabric during the Patriarchal period was found in the Beni Hasan tomb (ca 2000 b.c.)

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