COLOURING CIVILIZATIONS

Colours, from the moment the mind hears it, it searches all over its memory and brings something unique to our vision. It may be anything ranging from the infinite colours in the world of imagination to the unexpected, unexplained fonts of the universe.

This article deals with the effect of colours in ancient Egyptian civilizations.

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COLOURS IN ANCIENT EGYPT

The Egyptian word ‘iwn’ means colour in English. It is later translated into disposition, character and complexion and at last nature.

The colour viewed around is the same for the eyes in the present and in the past but their influence and impact is different. Let us have a close look at this thought below.

GREEN

In my childhood whenever I got hurt while playing, during the first- aid (which was given by my grandma) she used to ask me to see the green leaves or a tree which is green, because according to her it gives hope, a healing sign. In the same way, in ancient Egypt Green meant a symbol of hope, flourish to be healthy, beginning of a new life and also fertility.

Archaeological findings say that Turquoise and gold bracelets found in the wrist of Queen Zer was the oldest piece of stone known since 5500 BC.

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Horus (mythological character who is the God of green stones in Egypt) has green eyes which offers protection and healing. During mummification process Green heart scarab was placed over the heart (which was left in the body) to protect it from damage.

RED

Egyptians used this colour to describe a delight. It is a powerful colour because of its association with the blood. In Egypt this colour is used to paint the men’s skin colour in two dimensional images. Red, the hot sun colour is used to describe vitality, celebration, anger, chaos, fire, etc…

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Red is considered as the colour opposite to white. The English word ‘desert’ is derived from the Egyptian word ‘dshrt’ which means a red place. Even in scriptures the unlucky days are written in red colour.

BLUE

Here comes the colour of heavens, representation of the universe and the colour of source of life in Egypt (colour of Nile).

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It denotes fertility, rebirth, and power of creation. Mythological God of Egypt had blue hair. So Pharaohs depicting God had blue in their faces or they had blue hair. It is a sign of good luck too. Blue is commonly present in most of the royal jewels of Egypt.

YELLOW

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The colour of sun, considered as eternal, indestructible and is the colour of gold too. In Egypt it is the colour of the skin of God. Women’s skin were also coated mainly in yellow. Powerful officials also had yellow skin (like women) because they spent more time indoors away from the sun rays.

WHITE

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Wow! My favorite as I think of it as a divine colour. Accordingly, it represents the purity and omnipotence being a sacred colour. The sacred animals such as hippo, oxen, and cows are all represented in white, in Egyptian civilizations. The cotton in Egypt is cream coloured, but that of white is highly prized.

BLACK

Black literally means death, an after life in Egypt. But however the agricultural deposits of river Nile is black; hence it also denotes fertility and resurrection. Even the skin colours of many Gods were black.

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“Why are you concluding the article with black?”, My mom asked after reading. “The darkest of nights, the deepest of love, toughest of colours all are black!”, I exclaimed.

 

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