Monday, August 20, 2012

Colors for the Ancient Egyptians

We know Egyptians for their pharaohs, mummies, and pyramids. Unknown to many people, however, colors also played an integral role in the development of the Egyptian civilization.

Color history can actually be traced back to Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians considered color as an essential part of their life. Their paintings, architecture, books, and jewelry were all inspired by colorful symbolisms. The ancient Egyptian palette is composed of six colors:

Green is a positive and powerful color to Egyptians. It represents growth, and life. The Egyptian God Osiris is often depicted with green skin as reference to his power on vegetation. The Eye of Horus amulet is also often made of green stone.

Red is a very powerful color that symbolizes life and victory as well as anger and fire. It’s the color of Seth, the god that personalizes evil and the power of darkness. Egyptians created the red by using naturally oxidized iron and red ocher.

Yellow is used to signify the qualities of sun and gold. It’s an eternal and indestructible color. Egyptians  believed that the skin and bone of the gods are made from gold. They created yellow by using natural ochres or oxides.  

Blue is considered as the divine color. It symbolizes the sky and water. It takes the meaning of both life and re-birth. The god Amen/Amon, who played a part in the creation of the world according to Egyptians, sometimes has a blue face.        

White suggests purity. It is the color of simple and sacred things, and this is why white sandals were often worn at holy ceremonies. Egyptians created white from chalk and gypsum.

Black is the symbol of night and death. Anubis, the god of embalming is portrayed as a black jackal or dog. Egyptians created black from carbon compounds such as burnt animal bones and soot.   

1 comment:

  1. It could be said that culture influenced how we associate meaning to colors. But it doesn't mean that, for example, black symbolizes night and death, it really has some real association to death and evil. There have already been characters in motion pictures which wear colors very ironic to their traits.