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Indigo dye factory in Bengal. Bengal. Indigo dye is extracted from plants such as Indigofera tinctoria. The plant's leaves are soaked to extract the chemical indican, which is then fermented to produce the dye (indigotin). Bengal (now West Bengal and Bangladesh) was then part of the British Raj. Large numbers of indigo plantations were established in Bengal by the British. This watercolour, by Scottish artist William Simpson (1823-1899), dates from 1863.
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