Have you ever wondered how colors were made in the past? There’s no doubt that colors have always been a meaningful part of how different cultures and people express themselves.
Before we were able to synthesize colors them, people had to create them by mixing and mashing natural ingredients together.
Korwin Brigg’s gives us a sassy infographic that lists the chronological history of color-making. Back then, people got real creative with the ingredients they used. There are colors made from normal stuff like dirt or clay. For example, Umber was just made from brown dirt, and white came from chalk dust. Red ochre was from red dirt with iron in it, and yellow ochre was like red ochre but yellow.
However, back then people had to get really creative with the ingredients they used when they wanted more specialized colors. This led to certain colors that were made from some gross and even poisonous ingredients. Indian yellow was made from special cow urine, mummy-brown (as the name implies) was made by grinding up mummies, and Naples yellow was made from led. These colors were even used in buildings which, more often than not, led (pun intended) to lead poisoning.3.5k