>`tarka' meant something slightly different from what it does today,
>Margaret wouldn't have used the word "tarka", because it was only
>much later that technology provided colour-fast dyes (coming into the
>eigthteenth century, I think, in Scotland) with which the Scots could
>begin to design "clan patterns". She would, in fact, have used
>whatever the word or phrase is in Hungarian for "cross-over pattern",
>and not a word describing different colours.
> In fact, one of the most-commonly-used dyes in early days was
>humman urine. Perhaps it did leave a blotch or two!
Andy; regarding fabric colorants: Vegetable dyes as well as earth dyes
taken from soils, and of course insects have long and ancient histories.
The purple dyes used for robes of royalty in the ancient Near East came
from a snail on the east end of the Mediterranian. A lovely soft yellow
can come from some of the plants in the genus Carrota; an orange/red dye
from Berberis (barberry) and Oaks yield browns as well as tannin. Herbsmen
and women spining fabrics would learn and use these dyes. Urine contains
uric acid used as a mordant to make the color "fast" in the fabric.
So....Margaret would have been familiar with "mottled" fabrics. And by the
way she and her brother were born of the Hungarian court, were dhildren of
one of the Angle monarchs, who when attacked by Saxons from across the
channel, sent the family, under the care of regents, to the safety of
European ports. A storm is said to have forced the convoy into the Firth of
FOrth and the ship wrecked. Margaret was a refugee.
Regards Will Byers