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MFA# 44.750


Mora (Chlorophora tinctoria)

A natural, yellow dyestuff produced from a boiling water extract of wood chips from the dyer's mulberry, Chlorophora tinctoria or Maclura tinctoria, trees. Commonly know as 'old fustic', the dye was imported into Europe in 1510 from the West Indies, South America and Central America. Dye colors can range from a pale yellow with Alum to a dark tan with Copper. Soaking the wood for long periods produces a stronger color. Fustic contains the yellow flavonol colorant Morin. Morin will react with Aluminum to produce a green fluorescent compound. Fustic produces a slowly fugitive, bright yellow coloring that is used as a Textile and Leather dye, wood stain, a Varnish colorant and a Lake pigment. It is often mordanted with chromium salts.

(This is not the same dye as Young fustic.)

Synonyms and Related Terms

Fustic pieces

Chlorophora tinctoria (formerly Morus tinctoria); Maclura tinctoria; Natural Yellow 11; CI 75240; bois jaune (Fr.); Gelholz (Deut.); fustic (Esp.); gaud (It.); madera amilla de Cuba (Esp.); geelhout (Ned.); aurantica; aurantine; carmin de Cuba; Cubawood; yellowwood; old fustic; fustik; yellow wood; Cuba wood; dyer's mulberry; mora

Physical and Chemical Properties

silk dyed with old fustic
Uemera Dye Archives

Morin is soluble in alkali solutions, hot ethanol and acetic acid. Soluble in sulfuric acid forming a solution with green fluorescence. Slightly soluble in water.

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • J. and M. Cannon, Dye Plants and Dyeing, The Herbert Press, London, 1994.
  • J.Hofenk-de Graaf, Natural Dyestuffs: Origin, Chemical Constitution, Identification, Central Research Laboratory for Objects of Art and Science, Amsterdam, September 1969.
  • Helmut Schweppe, Schweppe color collection index and information book
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 350
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Palmy Weigle, Ancient Dyes for Modern Weavers, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1974
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • John and Margaret Cannon, Dye Plants and Dyeing, Herbert Press, London, 1994
  • Thomas B. Brill, Light Its Interaction with Art and Antiquities, Plenum Press, New York City, 1980
  • F. Crace-Calvert, Dyeing and Calico Printing, Palmer & Howe, London, 1876
  • Colour Index International online at www.colour-index.org
  • J. Thornton, 'The Use of Dyes and Colored Varnishes in Wood Polychromy', Painted Wood: History and Conservation, The Getty Conservation Insitute, Los Angeles, 1998