Mar 072011

by Jonah Mandel
The Jerusalem Post

Not quite azure, more of a midnight blue. That is apparently the actual color of the biblical techelet, according to Prof. Zvi Koren, who spoke this week at the Shenkar College’s International Edelstein Color Symposium.

Techelet: Color of a Clear Blue Sky

Techelet is the color that was used to dye the coat of the high priests in the time of the temples, as well as the strings attached to the corners of men’s garments “so that they may be seen and remind you of God’s commands,” as the Torah states. In modern Hebrew usage, techelet is the color of a clear sky in the daytime.

But the analysis of a small piece of dyed fabric that archeologist Yigal Yadin found at Masada in the 1960s, dated to the first century BCE, was what Koren recently used to determine not only the true hue of techelet, but also the chemical breakdown that allowed him to establish irrevocably that the source of this ancient dye was indeed the Murex trunculus snail.

However, Koren stressed that there were different types of Murex trunculus.

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