Two Rare Books on Nomads and Natural Dyes

by - Tuesday, April 28, 2020

We are giving away free — 
your choice of one of these hardcover books
— with orders over $400.
While supplies last, limited to Canada and continental USA.
These orders qualify for free shipping.
Choose the book you want when you select the free shipping option.

Natural Dyes and Textiles:
A Colour Journey From Turkey to India and Beyond
by Harald Böhmer
with co-author Charllotte Kwon

Reg 129.95
300 pages, hardcover, full colour.

"All of us who study, collect and appreciate the Anatolian carpet-weaving tradition have for two decades already owed an enormous debt to Harald Böhmer’s labour of love. Koekboya distils in one useful, attractive volume the essence of these labours. Part detective narrative, part encyclopedia, part history, bursting with colour and fascinating detail, the volume is a modern classic, a virtuoso blending of art, science and ethnography, a magnificent gift from Dr Böhmer to us all."  — WALTER B DENNY, Cornucopia Magazine. 


Encounters with a Vanishing Culture
by Harald Böhmer
with co-author Josephine Powell and Şerife Atlıhan

Reg 119.95
318 pages, hardcover, full colour.

'In this new volume, completed with the collaboration of the legendary photographer and ethnographer Josephine Powell and of Dr Atlihan, and magnificently and profusely illustrated with colour photographs and line drawings, Böhmer has taken his scientific research, and his unparalleled knowledge of Anatolian carpets and kilims, resulting from decades of fieldwork, into a new level of contextualisation within the vanishing nomadic culture' — from the foreword by Walter B Denny


Harald Böhmer lifts a skein of wool yarns from an indigo dye vat in Süleymanköy Turkey, 1997.

"Harald Böhmer was a man of tremendous accomplishments. A chemist long acquainted with Turkey, he undertook basic research on traditional dyeing methods in Turkish carpets that led to one of the most significant developments in carpet-weaving of the past 100 years."  — Walter B Denny Cornucopia Magazine

"During the summer of the same year, I found the Sarıkeçili again, and I visited them almost every year, including visits to their winter quarters. They soon had no objection to my taking photos and films, but they insisted that none of the films be shown on Turkish television and that on my next trip I should bring enough prints for everyone I had photographed. I did that of course, and now, in many of their decorated transport and storage saks (ala çuval) there are dated envelopes containing coloured photos." 

— from Nomads In Anatolia.

Sometimes it is the smallest steps that take us the furthest.
In the autumn of 1960, a young Harald Böhmer travelled to Turkey to teach in a German high school in Istanbul. Anxious to get out of Germany and connect with a completely different culture, he took a chance on a work opportunity two-thousand kilometres from home. During his first break from his new job at the school, he drove out of Istanbul and into the countryside. Instead of the Roman ruins he expected, the fields were dotted with stray camels grazing on the evergreens. Böhmer stopped and approached one to take photographs. He was met by a bearded man in woollen trousers, homemade shoes, and a sash.

To the young, urban Böhmer this man seemed exotic and strange. He later learned that the man belonged to a group of Turkish nomads who call themselves Yürüks. Böhmer was invited into the nomad's black tent and offered tea.

     Hoş geldiniz — You have come in friendship — with peaceful intentions.
     Hoş bulduk — We have found friendship here.

Harald Bohmer rests inside a nomads black tent in eastern Anatolia, 2000.

It was an encounter that was to change the course of Harold Böhmer’s life. He developed a fascination with the nomads, their way of life, and the carpets they still wove by hand when encamped. 

Harald went on to found the DOBAG project in 1981 - one of the first and most successful natural dye revivals. At some point in his travels in Turkey, Harald met Josephine Powell, an intrepid adventurer herself, who preceded Böhmer in Turkey and inspired Harald to connect more deeply with the Turkish pastoralists.

Harald (second from left) with the carpet weavers of the DOBAG project, 2000.

The stories of Harald's life, his adventures and his detailed research are all collected in Nomads in Anatolia. This wonderfully illustrated book includes excerpts taken directly from Harald’s journals that record a time now mostly passed. The book also contains photographs by Josephine Powell. It is a culturally astute work that provides a window into the world of the pastoralists and their most enduring artwork - the hand knotted kilms and carpets.

Camels are loaded with naturally dyed flatweaves and carpets, 1997.

Nomads is Harald’s second book, it follows his very successful first book KOEKBOYA. KOEKBOYA contains the fruits of Haralds natural dye research. With a background in chemistry and the keen mind of a researcher, Harald was always enthused to encounter the use of natural dyes in any form.

Dr. Harald Böhmer identifying the natural dyes used on historic carpets through the use of thin layer chromatography (TLC) in his Istanbul laboratory 1997.

In 1997, at a natural dye conference in Turkey, Harald Böhmer met Maiwa founder Charllotte Kwon. Natural dye use was a common thread and the two became friends. Harald introduced Charllotte to the DOBAG project and the Turkish revival. In turn Charllotte brought Harald to India and introduced him to the community of natural dyers she worked with. Harald was most familiar with the wools and the dyes used for carpets, whereas Charllotte had been working with a number of traditional processes which were mostly on cotton.

Left, Harald Böhmer is guided by the Khatri family to the presence of lac insects on an acacia in Kachchh, India. Jabbar Khatri stands behind him. Right, Ismail Khatri talks natural dye with Harald Böhmer in Dhamadka, India, 1999.

Harald Böhmer and Charllotte Kwon on a research trip to Orissa filming natural dye use 2000.

Harald Böhmer with Charllotte Kwon at Maiwa launching his book Nomads in Anatolia in 2008.

For more than fifty years since his first drive into the Turkish countryside Harald Böhmer continued to work with village artisans and document nomadic groups. He led an unusual life that inspired, most notably Charllotte Kwon. Charllotte saw that a revival of traditions was not only possible but necessary. 

These two exceptional books have long been at the top of our recommended reading list.

After a lifetime of travel, teaching, writing, and research, Harald Böhmer passed away at the end of 2017. He leaves these two books as a remarkable legacy.


Choose one of these books and receive it free
when you place an order over $400.

While supplies last, limited to Canada and continental USA.
These orders qualify for free shipping.
Choose the book you want when you select the free shipping option


To our U.S. customers – don't forget that the exchange rate works in your favour, it's like an extra discount.


Maiwa Founder Charllotte Kwon
was just featured in NUVO MAGAZINE.

Leah Scott interviews Sophena Kwon about Charllotte's role in founding Maiwa and creating slow clothes.

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