Posts Tagged ‘pigments’

The colors of antiquity

Posted on Apr 5, 2009

What can color tell us about an ancient culture? Possibly a lot, according to Dr. Laurel Flentye. She’s doing a comparative study of the pigments found by AERA archaeologists at the Lost City of the Pyramids and the nearby tombs of the Fourth Dynasty (the Eastern Cemetery and the G1S Cemetery).

Scene in the tomb of Meresankh III.

Scene in the tomb of Meresankh III.

Goal

There is little published on ancient Egyptian pigments, particularly those of the Fourth Dynasty. One of Laurel’s goals is documentation. Some of the tombs that still show color may one day be denuded due to time and pollution. It’s important that the pigments are recorded in context so we can try to understand the practical and religious considerations that played a part in the choice of color.

Why did the ancient Egyptians use certain colors? Are colors, materials, and schemes used in the Giza tombs different than those used on objects and surfaces at the pyramid settlement? Who were the artisans who made and used these colors? These are some of the questions Laurel is asking.

The Egyptian palette was limited.

The Egyptian palette was limited.

The Egyptians used a fairly restricted palette for decoration: red, yellow, blue, green, black, and brown. They made most colors using minerals, such as red ochre or hematite for red, and yellow ochre for yellow.READ MORE »

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