Gamboge is a partially transparent deep saffron to mustard yellow pigment. It is used to dye Buddhist monks’ robes because the color is a deep tone of saffron, the traditional color used for the robes of Theravada Buddhist monks.

Gamboge is most often extracted by tapping resin from various species of evergreen trees of the family Clusiaceae (also known as Guttiferae). The tree most commonly used is the gamboge tree. The orange fruit of Garcinia gummi-gutta is also known as gamboge.

The trees must be at least ten years old before they are tapped. The resin is extracted by making spiral incisions in the bark, and by breaking off leaves and shoots and letting the milky yellow resinous gum drip out. The resulting latex is collected in hollow bamboo canes. After the resin is congealed, the bamboo is broken away and large rods of raw gamboge remain.