7 / 2000

Israel * Bedouin camel leather ankle boot with tassel decoration

Half-boots and ankle boots with a wide shaft originated thousands of years ago in the Mesopotamian area. Bedouin nomads used them for horse or camel riding. The ankle boots, called "m├Ęzde" were commonly worn, however the half-boots called "yezmeh" were in general reserved for chieftains or sheikhs. The boots are always made of red or yellow camel leather. The red pigment is extracted from the madder plant (rubia tinctorum) or from pomegranate (punica granatum) like it has been done for thousands of years. The shell of the unripe fruit of the pomegranate also delivers the red tanning extract for the leather as it does until today from West Africa to India. The yellow pigment is made of the broom plant (genista tinctoria).

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland