BRAZILWOOD (Haematoxylon braziletto, Caesalpina brasiliensis, C. crista): New World and African dyewood discovered c.1500s AD by Spanish and Portuguese explorers who named a whole country after this valuable dyewood.
Dye chemical: brazilin. Especially good on wool or silk, fairly light- and wash-fast.
Both brazilwood and sappanwood were used as pigments for medieval illuminations.
AKA: Brazil, brasiletto, brasill, brazilcium, brasyle, braxilio, breselwood, brissel, beryilium, beryinum, brexilium, Barbados pride, bluewood, fernambuco, fernambouc, Flower-fence, pernambuco wood, queen’s wood, versinum, [Fr] bois de bresil [Nahuatl] chacmol, chacal-xóchitl, nacascolotl [Gael] glasheen, glaisin [Sp] tabachín, tabaquín, flor de camarón, flor de San Francisco, flor de Guacamaya, huisache bola, quebrahacha, del monte [Port] brasa = ‘burning ember’, [Ger] das rotholz [Malay] sepang [Hawaii] laioa. [Mexico, Central America]
Alum mordant: bright red
Copper mordant: dull red
Iron mordant: purple-brown
Tin mordant: purple-red
HISTORY NOTE: Brazilwood is related to sappanwood (Caesalpina sappan), Southeast Asian dyewood used c.1100 BC in India, Malabar, Siam, Sumatra and the Middle East; known in Genoa, Italy, by 1260 AD. The brazil noted by Medieval writers was sappanwood, perhaps Cennini’s verzino. AKA: Brazil, brasiletto, brasill, brasyle, braxilio, breselwood, brissel (C. echinata), sappan-root, sapay, sapan, sappin, southernwood, vergino, verzin [Jp] suo, suoh, shiiwa [Thai] mai fang