Saturday, 30 March 2019

Ancient History Of Red

Red has had a long history with human beings. Since red is the color of blood, it has been associated with sacrifice, danger and courage. Red, black and white were the first colors used by artists in the Upper Paleolithic age, probably because natural pigments were readily available. Madder, a plant whose root could be made into a red dye, grew widely. The cave of Altamira in Spain has a painting of a bison colored with red ochre that dates to between 15,000 and 16,500 BC.
Roman fresco from the fullonica (dyer's shop) of Veranius Hypsaeus in Pompeii.

The Egyptians began manufacturing pigments in about 4000 BC. Egyptians often used hematite, the mineral form of iron oxide, and also used both cinnabar imported from Spain and realgar. All three were expensive imports and had to be used in moderation. Egyptian artisans became deft at reverse engineering the color red by reprocessing fabrics previously dyed with red madder (a plant) or kermes (made from insects).

Greeks and Romans also valued red as a dye for clothing, hair, makeup and painting. The rich cinnabar frescoes from many Pompeiian houses communicated luxury. Red was also used on inscriptions and then later, in medieval manuscripts. Roman inscriptions were often white with red lettering.

Villa of the Mysteries, Ruins of Pompeii, fresco, 2nd century B.C.
In Ancient China, artisans were making red and black painted pottery as early as the Yangshao Culture period (5000–3000 BC). A red-painted wooden bowl was found at a Neolithic site in Yuyao, Zhejiang.

During the Han dynasty (200 BC to 200 AD) Chinese craftsmen made a red pigment, lead tetroxide, which they called ch-ien tan, by heating lead white pigment. Like the Egyptians, they made a red dye from the madder plant to color silk fabric for gowns and used pigments colored with madder to make red lacquerware.

The Chinese invented porcelain around the Han Dynasty (206-220 AD)