Color in Ancient Egypt

Color in Ancient Egypt


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The ancient Egyptians had a great appreciation for life which is clearly depicted through their art. Images of people enjoying themselves - whether in this life or the next - are as plentiful as those most often seen of the gods or funerary rituals. The early Egyptologists who first encountered the culture focused their attention on the many examples of funerary art found in tombs and concluded that Egyptian culture was death-obsessed when, in reality, the ancient Egyptians were wholly absorbed in living life to its fullest.

Egyptians decorated their homes, gardens, palaces, and tombs with impressive works of art which reflected their appreciation for all that the gods had given them and accented these depictions with vibrant colors. The palace of Amenhotep III (1386-1353 BCE) at Malkata was brightly painted, the outer walls of white and the interiors of blue, yellow, and green, with murals and other ornamentation throughout. These colors were not chosen randomly but each had a very specific symbolism for the Egyptians and were used to convey that significance. Egyptologist Rosalie David comments on this:

Colour was regarded as an integral element of all art representations, including wall-scenes, statuary, tomb goods, and jewelry, and the magical qualities of a specific color were believed to become an integral part of any object to which it was added (176).

Each color had its own particular symbolism & was created from elements found in nature.

Color in ancient Egypt was used not only in realistic representations of scenes from every life but to illustrate the heavenly realms of the gods, the afterlife, and the stories and histories of the deities of the Egyptian pantheon. Each color had its own particular symbolism and was created from elements found in nature. Egyptologist Margaret Bunson writes how "artisans began to observe the natural occurrence of colors in their surroundings and pulverized various oxides and other materials to develop the hues they desired" (54). This process of Egyptian artists creating colors for their art dates to the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150-c. 2613 BCE) but becomes more pronounced during the time of the Old Kingdom (c. 2613-2181 BCE). From the Old Kingdom until the country was annexed by Rome after 30 BCE, color was an important component of every work of art fashioned by the Egyptians.

Realism in Color

Each color was created by mixing various naturally occurring elements and each became standardized in time in order to ensure a uniformity in art work. An Egyptian male, for example, was always depicted with a reddish-brown skin which was achieved by mixing a certain amount of the standard red paint recipe with standard brown. Variations in the mix would occur in different eras but, overall, remained more or less the same. This color for the male's skin was chosen for realism in the piece, in order to symbolize the outdoor life of most males, while Egyptian women were painted with lighter skin (using yellow and white mixes) since they spent more time indoors.

The gods were typically represented with gold skin, reflecting the belief that gods did, in fact, have gold skin. An exception to this is the god Osiris who is almost always shown with green or black skin symbolizing fertility, regeneration, and the underworld. Osiris was murdered, returned to life by Isis, and then descended to rule over the land of the dead; the colors used in his depictions all symbolize aspects of his story. Whether a scene shows a man and his wife at dinner or the gods in the solar barge, each color used had to accurately represent the various themes of these events.

Love History?

Sign up for our free weekly email newsletter!

Color Creation & Symbolism

The different colors below are listed with their Egyptian name following, the materials used in creating them, and what they symbolized. The definitions follow the work of Richard H. Wilkinson in his Symbolism & Magic in Egyptian Art and Margaret Bunson's Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, supplemented by other works.

Red (desher) - made from oxidized iron and red ocher, used to create flesh tones and symbolizing life but also evil and destruction. Red was associated with both fire and blood and so symbolized vitality and energy but could also be used to accentuate a certain danger or define a destructive deity. The god Set, for example, who murdered Osiris and brought chaos to Egypt at the beginning of time, was always represented with a red face or red hair or completely in red. One also sees this pattern in written work where the color red is sometimes used to signify a dangerous character or aspect in a story. In wall paintings and tomb scenes red must be carefully interpreted within the context of the scene. Although it was frequently used for emphasis of danger or even evil, it is also as commonly seen symbolizing life or a higher being (as in depictions of the Eye of Ra) or elevated status as in the Red Crown of Lower Egypt.

Blue (irtiu and khesbedj) - one of the most popular colors, commonly referred to as "Egyptian Blue", made from copper and iron oxides with silica and calcium, symbolizing fertility, birth, rebirth and life and usually used to depict water and the heavens. Wilkinson writes, "by the same token, blue could signify the river Nile and its associated crops, offerings, and fertility, and many of the so-called `fecundity' figures which represent the river's bounty are of this hue" (107). Statues and depictions of the god Thoth are routinely blue, blue-green, or have some aspect of blue in them linking the god of wisdom with the life-giving heavens. Blue also symbolized protection. Fertility amulets of the protector-god Bes were often blue as were the tattoos women would wear of Bes or diamond-shaped patterns on their lower abdomen, back, and thighs. It is thought these tattoos were worn as amulets to protect women during pregnancy and childbirth.

Yellow (khenet and kenit) - made from ocher and oxides originally but, from the New Kingdom (c. 1570-1069 BCE) was mixed from arsenic trisulphide and symbolizing the sun and eternity. Yellow was darkened for the golden flesh-color of the gods or lightened with white to suggest purity or some sacred aspect of a character or object. Isis, for example, is always depicted with gold skin in a white dress but, sometimes, her dress is a light yellow to emphasize her eternal aspect in a scene or story. It is thought that priests and priestesses of the gods of Egypt would sometimes dress as their deities and Wilkinson suggests that priests of the god Anubis would color their skins yellow on certain occassions to "become" the god for the event. Although Anubis was traditionally represented as black-skinned, there are a number of texts depicting him with the golden hue of the other gods.

Green (wadj) - mixed from malachite, a copper mineral, and symbolizing goodness, growth, life, the afterlife, and resurrection. The Egyptian afterlife was known as The Field of Reeds and, in some eras, as The Field of Malachite and was always associated with the color green. Wilkinson writes how green was "naturally a symbol of growing things and of life itself" and goes on to point out how, in ancient Egypt, "to do `green things' was a euphemism for positive, life-producing, behavior in contrast to `red things' which symbolized evil" (108). Green is the color of the dying and reviving god Osiris and also of the Eye of Horus, one of the most sacred objects in Egyptian mythology. In early tomb paintings the spirit of the deceased is shown as white but, later, as green to associate the dead with the eternal Osiris. In keeping with the symbolism of ressurection, green is also often used to depict the goddess Hathor, Lady of the Sycamore. Hathor was closely associated with the Sycamore tree, with renewal, transformation, and rebirth. Mummies of tattooed women suggest the ink could have been green, blue, or black and tattoos have been linked with the worship of Hathor.

White (hedj and shesep) - made from chalk mixed with gypsum, often employed as a lightener for other hues, and symbolizing purity, sacredness, cleanliness, and clarity. White was the color of Egyptian clothing and so associated with daily life but was frequently employed in artistic pieces to symbolize the transcendent nature of life as well. Priests always wore white and so did temple attendants and temple personnel taking part in a festival or ritual. The objects used in rituals (such as bowls, plates, altars, tables) were made of white alabaster. White, like the other colors, was used realistically in depicting clothing and objects of that color in real life but frequently is employed to highlight the importance of some aspect of a painting; in some cases, it did both these things. The White Crown of Upper Egypt, for example, is routinely referred to as white - and so is realistically depicted - but also symbolized the close connection to the gods enjoyed by the king - and so symbolically represents purity and the sacred.

Black (kem) - made from carbon, ground charcoal, mixed with water and sometimes burnt animal bones, symbolized death, darkness, the underworld, as well as life, birth, and resurrection. Wilkinson writes, "the symbolic association of the color with life and fertility may well have originated in the fertile black silt deposited by the Nile in its annual flooding and Osiris - god of the Nile and of the underworld - was thus frequently depicted with black skin" (109). Black and green are often used interchangably in Egyptian art, in fact, as symbols of life. Statues of the gods were frequently carved from black stone but, just as often, from green. Although black was associated with death it had no connotation of evil - which was represented by red - and, frequently appears along with green, or instead of green, in depictions of the afterlife. Anubis, the god who guides the dead to the hall of judgment and is present at the weighing of the soul's heart, is almost always depicted as a black figure as is Bastet, goddess of women, one of the most popular deities in all of Egypt. Tattoos of Bes were done in black ink and images of the afterlife frequently make use of a black background to not only accentuate the gold and white of the foreground but also symbolize the concept of rebirth.

Black symbolized death, darkness, the underworld, as well as life, birth, & resurrection.

These basic colors were often mixed, diluted, or otherwise combined to create colors such as purple, pink, teal, gold, silver, and other hues. Artists were not bound by the minerals they mixed their paints from but only by their imaginations and talent in creating the colors they needed to tell their stories.

Colors in Context

Aesthetic considerations were of great importance to the Egyptians. Art and architecture is charactized by symmetry and even their writing system, the hieroglyphics, were set down in accordance with visual beauty as an integral aspect of their function. In reading hieroglyphics, one understands the meaning by noting which direction the figures are facing; if they face left, then one reads to the left and, if up or down or right, in whichever of those directions. The direction of the figures provides the context of the message and so provides a means of understanding what it being said.

In the same way, color in Egyptian art must be interpreted in context. In a certain painting, red might symbolize evil or destruction but the color should not always instantly be interpreted along those lines. Black is a color often misinterpreted in Egyptian art because of the modern-day association of black with evil. Images of Tutankhamun, found in his tomb, sometimes depict him with black skin and these were originally associated with death and grief by the early archaeologists interpreting the finds; although the association with death would be correct, and grief did accompany the loss of anyone in ancient Egypt as today, a proper interpretation would be the association of Tutankhamun in death with Osiris and the concept of rebirth and resurrection.

White retains the same meaning in the present day that it had for the ancient Egyptians but, as noted, must also be interpreted in context. The white dress of Isis would signify purity and the sacred yet the white skirt of Set would simply be a representation of how a male Egyptian dressed. Recognizing the symbolism of Egyptian colors, however, and why they were most commonly used, allows one a greater appreciation of Egyptian art and a clearer understanding of the message the ancient artist was trying to convey.


History of Color Therapy

Color therapy, or chromotherapy, has been in use for a long time. In ancient Egypt, Greece and China "color halls" or rooms were painted different colors in an attempt to treat ailments. Color therapy played an important role in their medical practices. Egyptians looked at nature and copied the colors they observed. The green of the grass was used for floors. The blue of the sky was often used. They hung crystal gems in the windows of their "healing rooms." Sunlight would flow into the rooms through the crystals.

Papyrus sheets have been found dating back to 1550 BC which have a list of color "cures." The "Nei ching," the Chinese book of internal medicine, dating back 2000 years, records color diagnosis. This knowledge was nearly lost later in history when the Greeks studied color only as a science and ignored its possible healing properties. Fortunately, this knowledge not completely lost.

Avicenna (980-1037), an Arabian, wrote about color therapy in "The Canon of Medicine." He thought that disease symptoms were associated with colors. He also developed a chart which showed what he thought was the relationship between color and the temperature and physical condition of the body.

In the 19 th century, Johann Wolfgang Goethe was the first person to systematically study the physiological effects of color. In 1810, he published "The Theory of Color" describing his findings. He divided colors into two groups. One group (red, orange and yellow) consisted of the colors which cause happiness. The other group (green, blue, indigo and violet) cause sadness.

In 1877, Niels Finsen from Denmark discovered that solar ultra-violet light inhibits the growth of bacteria. He studied the use of light in the healing of wounds. He used red to inhibit the formation of small pox scars. In 1896 he founded in Copenhagen the "Light Institute" for the photo treatment of tuberculosis. Today, it is called the "Finsen Institute".

In 1878, Dr. Edwin Babbitt published "Principals of Light and Color" where he described various techniques of healing with color.

In 1932, two psychologists from California scientifically showed that, in humans, blue light has a calming effect and red light has a stimulating effect.

In 1933, Dinshah Ghadiali, a scientist from India, published "The Spectro Chrometry Encyclopedia." This book laid the foundation for most modern color therapy. In India, color therapy has grown in acceptance and popularity.

About the same time in the United States, Dr. Harry Spitler developed a form of color therapy called "Syntonics." Dr. Spitler found that he could generate profound physiological and psychological changes in patients by changing the light which entered their eyes.

Throughout the 20 th century, interest in color therapy steadily grew. Today, many people practice color therapy. It is becoming more and more known and accepted. In an attempt to separate from a perceived association with mysticism, the term "photobiology" is used for the scientific study of the effects of light on humans.

Play a Game

The information published here is for entertainment purposes only and is in no way intended to dispense medical advice or to be a substitute for professional medical care, whether advice, diagnosis or treatment, by a medical professional. If you feel ill or have a medical issue, you should consult a health care professional.


The ancient Egyptians associated the color blue with the gods like Amon, the god of the wind. It is the color of the oceans and of the skies. Quite opposite the color red, blue evokes feelings of calm, peace and tranquility. It symbolizes loyalty, wisdom, and trust. It inspires creativity and deep thinking. This effect that the color blue has on the human psyche makes it a perfect color for spaces where rest and calm needs to be achieved, like bedrooms, libraries or hospitals.

For the ancient Chinese, yellow symbolizes good luck and is often associated with gold. Throughout the ages in most parts of the world, the color yellow is regarded as the color of wisdom and intellect. It enhances optimism, logic, and concentration. It stimulates speedy metabolism. Bright and cheerful, it represents the playfulness and carefree attitude of the young.


Contents

In the 18th century, Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney, wrote about the controversy regarding the race of the ancient Egyptians. In one translation, he wrote "The Copts are the proper representatives of the Ancient Egyptians" due to their "jaundiced and fumed skin, which is neither Greek, Negro nor Arab, their full faces, their puffy eyes, their crushed noses, and their thick lips. the ancient Egyptians were true negroes of the same type as all native born Africans". [8] [9] In another translation, Volney said the Sphinx gave him the key to the riddle, "seeing that head, typically negro in all its features", [10] the Copts were "true negroes of the same stock as all the autochthonous peoples of Africa" and they "after some centuries of mixing. must have lost the full blackness of its original color." [11] : 26

Another early example of the controversy is an article published in The New-England Magazine of October 1833, where the authors dispute a claim that "Herodotus was given as authority for their being negroes." They point out with reference to tomb paintings: "It may be observed that the complexion of the men is invariably red, that of the women yellow but neither of them can be said to have anything in their physiognomy at all resembling the Negro countenance." [12]

A few years later, in 1839, Jean-François Champollion stated in his work Egypte Ancienne that the Egyptians and Nubians are represented in the same manner in tomb paintings and reliefs, further suggesting that: "In the Copts of Egypt, we do not find any of the characteristic features of the ancient Egyptian population. The Copts are the result of crossbreeding with all the nations that successfully dominated Egypt. It is wrong to seek in them the principal features of the old race." [13] Also in 1839, Champollion's and Volney's claims were disputed by Jacques Joseph Champollion-Figeac, who blamed the ancients for spreading a false impression of a Negro Egypt, stating "the two physical traits of black skin and kinky hair are not enough to stamp a race as negro" [11] : 26 and "the opinion that the ancient population of Egypt belonged to the Negro African race, is an error long accepted as the truth. . Volney's conclusion as to the Negro origin of the ancient Egyptian civilization is evidently forced and inadmissible." [14]

Foster summarized the early 19th century "controversy over the ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians" as a debate of conflicting theories regarding the Hamites. "In ancient times, the Hamites, who developed the civilization of Egypt, were considered Black." [15] Foster describes the 6th century CE curse of Ham theory, which began "in the Babylonian Talmud, a collection of oral traditions of the Jews, that the sons of Ham are cursed by being black." [15] Foster said "throughout the Middle Ages and to the end of the eighteenth century, the Negro was seen by Europeans as a descendant of Ham." [15] In the early 19th century, "after Napolean's expedition to Egypt, the Hamites began to be viewed as having been Caucasians." [15] However, "Napolean's scientists concluded that the Egyptians were Negroid." Napoleon's colleagues referenced prior "well-known books" by Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney and Vivant Denon that described Ancient Egyptians as "negroid.". [15] Finally, Foster concludes, "it was at this point that Egypt became the focus of much scientific and lay interest, the result of which was the appearance of many publications whose sole purpose was to prove that the Egyptians were not Black, and therefore capable of developing such a high civilization." [15]

The debate over the race of the ancient Egyptians intensified during the 19th century movement to abolish slavery in the United States, as arguments relating to the justifications for slavery increasingly asserted the historical, mental and physical inferiority of black people. [ citation needed ] For example, in 1851, John Campbell directly challenged the claims by Champollion and others regarding the evidence for a black Egypt, asserting "There is one great difficulty, and to my mind an insurmountable one, which is that the advocates of the negro civilization of Egypt do not attempt to account for, how this civilization was lost. Egypt progressed, and why, because it was Caucasian." [16] The arguments regarding the race of the Egyptians became more explicitly tied to the debate over slavery in the United States, as tensions escalated towards the American Civil War. [17] In 1854, Josiah C. Nott with George Glidden set out to prove: "that the Caucasian or white, and the Negro races were distinct at a very remote date, and that the Egyptians were Caucasians." [18] Samuel George Morton, a physician and professor of anatomy, concluded that although "Negroes were numerous in Egypt, but their social position in ancient times was the same that it now is [in the United States], that of servants and slaves." [19] In the early 20th century, Flinders Petrie, a professor of Egyptology at the University of London, in turn spoke of "a black queen", [20] Ahmose-Nefertari, who was the "divine ancestress of the XVIIIth dynasty". He described her physically as "the black queen Aohmes Nefertari had an aquiline nose, long and thin, and was of a type not in the least prognathous". [21]

Modern scholars who have studied ancient Egyptian culture and population history have responded to the controversy over the race of the ancient Egyptians in different ways.

At the UNESCO "Symposium on the Peopling of Ancient Egypt and the Deciphering of the Meroitic Script" in Cairo in 1974, the Black Hypothesis met with "profound" disagreement by scholars. [22] Similarly, none of the participants voiced support for an earlier theory where Egyptians were "white with a dark, even black, pigmentation." [11] : 43 The arguments for all sides are recorded in the UNESCO publication General History of Africa, [23] with the "Origin of the Egyptians" chapter being written by the proponent of the black hypothesis Cheikh Anta Diop. At the 1974 UNESCO conference, most participants concluded that the ancient Egyptian population was indigenous to the Nile Valley, and was made up of people from north and south of the Sahara who were differentiated by their color. [24]

Since the second half of the 20th century, most anthropologists have rejected the notion of race as having any validity in the study of human biology. [25] [26] Stuart Tyson Smith writes in the 2001 Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, "Any characterization of race of the ancient Egyptians depends on modern cultural definitions, not on scientific study. Thus, by modern American standards it is reasonable to characterize the Egyptians as 'black', while acknowledging the scientific evidence for the physical diversity of Africans." [27] Frank M. Snowden asserts "Egyptians, Greeks and Romans attached no special stigma to the colour of the skin and developed no hierarchical notions of race whereby highest and lowest positions in the social pyramid were based on colour." [28] [29]

Barbara Mertz writes in Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt: "Egyptian civilization was not Mediterranean or African, Semitic or Hamitic, black or white, but all of them. It was, in short, Egyptian." [30] Kathryn Bard, Professor of Archaeology and Classical Studies, wrote in Ancient Egyptians and the issue of race that "Egyptians were the indigenous farmers of the lower Nile valley, neither black nor white as races are conceived of today". [31] Nicky Nielsen wrote in Egyptomaniacs: How We Became Obsessed with Ancient Egypt that "Ancient Egypt was neither black nor white, and the repeated attempt by advocates of either ideology to seize the ownership of ancient Egypt simply perpetuates an old tradition: one of removing agency and control of their heritage from the modern population living along the banks of the Nile." [32]

Frank J. Yurco, an Egyptologist at the Field Museum and the University of Chicago, said: "When you talk about Egypt, it's just not right to talk about black or white, That's all just American terminology and it serves American purposes. I can understand and sympathize with the desires of Afro-Americans to affiliate themselves with Egypt. But it isn't that simple [..] To take the terminology here and graft it onto Africa is anthropologically inaccurate". Yurco added that "We are applying a racial divisiveness to Egypt that they would never have accepted, They would have considered this argument absurd, and that is something we could really learn from." [33] Yurco writes that "the peoples of Egypt, the Sudan, and much of North-East Africa are generally regarded as a Nilotic continuity, with widely ranging physical features (complexions light to dark, various hair and craniofacial types)". [34]

Barry J. Kemp argues that the black/white argument, though politically understandable, is an oversimplification that hinders an appropriate evaluation of the scientific data on the ancient Egyptians since it does not take into consideration the difficulty in ascertaining complexion from skeletal remains. It also ignores the fact that Africa is inhabited by many other populations besides Bantu-related ("Negroid") groups. He asserts that in reconstructions of life in ancient Egypt, modern Egyptians would therefore be the most logical and closest approximation to the ancient Egyptians. [35] In 2008, S. O. Y. Keita wrote that "There is no scientific reason to believe that the primary ancestors of the Egyptian population emerged and evolved outside of northeast Africa. The basic overall genetic profile of the modern population is consistent with the diversity of ancient populations that would have been indigenous to northeastern Africa and subject to the range of evolutionary influences over time, although researchers vary in the details of their explanations of those influences." [36] According to Bernard R. Ortiz De Montellano, "the claim that all Egyptians, or even all the pharaohs, were black, is not valid. Most scholars believe that Egyptians in antiquity looked pretty much as they look today, with a gradation of darker shades toward the Sudan". [5]

Near-Eastern genetic affinity of Egyptian mummies

A study published in 2017 by Schuenemann et al. described the extraction and analysis of DNA from 151 mummified ancient Egyptian individuals, whose remains were recovered from a site near the modern village of Abusir el-Meleq in Middle Egypt, near the Faiyum Oasis. [37] [38] The area of Abusir el-Meleq, near El Fayum, was inhabited from at least 3250 BCE until about 700 CE. [39] The scientists said that obtaining well-preserved, uncontaminated DNA from mummies has been a problem for the field and that these samples provided "the first reliable data set obtained from ancient Egyptians using high-throughput DNA sequencing methods". [38]

The study was able to measure the mitochondrial DNA of 90 individuals, and it showed that the mitochondrial DNA composition of Egyptian mummies has shown a high level of affinity with the DNA of the populations of the Near East. [37] [38] Genome-wide data could only be successfully extracted from three of these individuals. Of these three, the Y-chromosome haplogroups of two individuals could be assigned to the Middle-Eastern haplogroup J, and one to haplogroup E1b1b1 common in North Africa. The absolute estimates of sub-Saharan African ancestry in these three individuals ranged from 6 to 15%, which is significantly lower than the level of sub-Saharan African ancestry in the modern Egyptians from Abusir el-Meleq, who "range from 14 to 21%." The study's authors cautioned that the mummies may be unrepresentative of the Ancient Egyptian population as a whole. [40]

A shared drift and mixture analysis of the DNA of these ancient Egyptian mummies shows that the connection is strongest with ancient populations from the Levant, the Near East and Anatolia, and to a lesser extent modern populations from the Near East and the Levant. [38] In particular the study finds "that ancient Egyptians are most closely related to Neolithic and Bronze Age samples in the Levant, as well as to Neolithic Anatolian populations". [39] However, the study showed that comparative data from a contemporary population under Roman rule in Anatolia, did not reveal a closer relationship to the ancient Egyptians from the same period. furthermore, "Genetic continuity between ancient and modern Egyptians cannot be ruled out despite this sub-Saharan African influx, while continuity with modern Ethiopians is not supported". [38]

The current position of modern scholarship is that the Ancient Egyptian civilization was an indigenous Nile Valley development (see population history of Egypt). [41] [42] [43] [44]

Keita, Gourdine, and Anselin challenged the assertions in the 2017 study. They state the study is missing 3000 years of Ancient Egypt's history, fails to include indigenous Nile valley Nubians as a comparison group, only includes New Kingdom and newer Northern Egyptian individuals, and incorrectly classifies "all mitochondrial M1 haplogroups as "Asian" which is problematic." [45] Keita et al. states, "M1 has been postulated to have emerged in Africa many M1 daughter haplogroups (M1a) are clearly African in origin and history." [45] In conclusion, Keita/Gourdine state due to the small sample size (2.4% of Egypt's nomes), the "Schuenemann et al. study is best seen as a contribution to understanding a local population history in northern Egypt as opposed to a population history of all Egypt from its inception." [45]

Professor Stephen Quirke, an Egyptologist at University College London, expressed caution about the researchers’ broader claims, saying that “There has been this very strong attempt throughout the history of Egyptology to disassociate ancient Egyptians from the modern population.” He added that he was “particularly suspicious of any statement that may have the unintended consequences of asserting – yet again from a northern European or North American perspective – that there’s a discontinuity there [between ancient and modern Egyptians]". [46]

Ancient Egyptian genetic studies

A number of scientific papers have reported, based on both maternal and paternal genetic evidence, that a substantial back-flow of people took place from Eurasia into North-east Africa, including Egypt, around 30,000 years before the start of the Dynastic period. [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [58] [59]

Some authors have offered a theory that the M haplogroup may have developed in Africa before the 'Out of Africa' event around 50,000 years ago, and dispersed in Africa from East Africa 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. [60] : 85–88 [61] [62] [63]

Today the issues regarding the race of the ancient Egyptians are "troubled waters which most people who write about ancient Egypt from within the mainstream of scholarship avoid." [64] The debate, therefore, takes place mainly in the public sphere and tends to focus on a small number of specific issues.

Tutankhamun

Several scholars, including Diop, have claimed that Tutankhamun was black, and have protested that attempted reconstructions of Tutankhamun's facial features (as depicted on the cover of National Geographic magazine) have represented the king as "too white". Among these writers was Chancellor Williams, who argued that King Tutankhamun, his parents, and grandparents were black. [65]

Forensic artists and physical anthropologists from Egypt, France, and the United States independently created busts of Tutankhamun, using a CT-scan of the skull. Biological anthropologist Susan Anton, the leader of the American team, said the race of the skull was "hard to call". She stated that the shape of the cranial cavity indicated an African, while the nose opening suggested narrow nostrils, which is usually considered to be a European characteristic. The skull was thus concluded to be that of a North African. [66] Other experts have argued that neither skull shapes nor nasal openings are a reliable indication of race. [67]

Although modern technology can reconstruct Tutankhamun's facial structure with a high degree of accuracy, based on CT data from his mummy, [68] [69] determining his skin tone and eye color is impossible. The clay model was therefore given a coloring, which, according to the artist, was based on an "average shade of modern Egyptians". [70]

Terry Garcia, National Geographic ' s executive vice president for mission programs, said, in response to some of those protesting against the Tutankhamun reconstruction:

The big variable is skin tone. North Africans, we know today, had a range of skin tones, from light to dark. In this case, we selected a medium skin tone, and we say, quite up front, 'This is midrange.' We will never know for sure what his exact skin tone was or the color of his eyes with 100% certainty. Maybe in the future, people will come to a different conclusion. [71]

When pressed on the issue by American activists in September 2007, the Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass stated "Tutankhamun was not black." [72]

In a November 2007 publication of Ancient Egypt magazine, Hawass asserted that none of the facial reconstructions resemble Tut and that, in his opinion, the most accurate representation of the boy king is the mask from his tomb. [73] The Discovery Channel commissioned a facial reconstruction of Tutankhamun, based on CT scans of a model of his skull, back in 2002. [74] [75]

In 2011, the genomics company iGENEA launched a Tutankhamun DNA project based on genetic markers that it indicated it had culled from a Discovery Channel special on the pharaoh. According to the firm, the microsatellite data suggested that Tutankhamun belonged to the haplogroup R1b1a2, the most common paternal clade among males in Western Europe. Carsten Pusch and Albert Zink, who led the unit that had extracted Tutankhamun's DNA, chided iGENEA for not liaising with them before establishing the project. After examining the footage, they also concluded that the methodology the company used was unscientific with Putsch calling them "simply impossible". [76]

Cleopatra

The race and skin color of Cleopatra VII, the last active Hellenistic ruler of the Macedonian Greek Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, established in 323 BCE, has also caused some debate, [77] although generally not in scholarly sources. [78] For example, the article "Was Cleopatra Black?" was published in Ebony magazine in 2012, [79] and an article about Afrocentrism from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch mentions the question, too. [80] Mary Lefkowitz, Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at Wellesley College, traces the origins of the black Cleopatra claim to the 1872 book by J.A. Rogers called "World's Great Men of Color." [81] [82] Lefkowitz refutes Rogers' hypothesis, on various scholarly grounds. The black Cleopatra claim was further revived in an essay by afrocentrist John Henrik Clarke, chair of African history at Hunter College, entitled "African Warrior Queens." [83] Lefkowitz notes the essay includes the claim that Cleopatra described herself as black in the New Testament's Book of Acts – when in fact Cleopatra had died more than sixty years before the death of Jesus Christ. [83]

Scholars identify Cleopatra as essentially of Greek ancestry with some Persian and Syrian ancestry, based on the fact that her Macedonian Greek family (the Ptolemaic dynasty) had intermingled with the Seleucid aristocracy of the time. [85] [86] [87] [88] [89] [90] [91] [92] [93] [94] Grant states that Cleopatra probably had not a drop of Egyptian blood and that she "would have described herself as Greek." [95] Roller notes that "there is absolutely no evidence" that Cleopatra was racially black African as claimed by what he dismisses as generally not "credible scholarly sources." [96] Cleopatra's official coinage (which she would have approved) and the three portrait busts of her which are considered authentic by scholars, all match each other, and they portray Cleopatra as a Greek woman. [97] [98] [99] [100] Polo writes that Cleopatra's coinage presents her image with certainty, and asserts that the sculpted portrait of the "Berlin Cleopatra" head is confirmed as having a similar profile. [98]

In 2009, a BBC documentary speculated that Cleopatra might have been part North African. This was based largely on the claims of Hilke Thür of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, who in the 1990s had examined a headless skeleton of a female child in a 20 BCE tomb in Ephesus (modern Turkey), together with the old notes and photographs of the now-missing skull. Thür hypothesized the body as that of Arsinoe, half-sister to Cleopatra. [101] [102] Arsinoe and Cleopatra shared the same father (Ptolemy XII Auletes) but had different mothers, [103] with Thür claiming the alleged African ancestry came from the skeleton's mother. To date it has never been definitively proved that the skeleton is that of Arsinoe IV. Furthermore, craniometry as used by Thür to determine race is based in scientific racism that is now generally considered a pseudoscience that supported "exploitation of groups of people" to "perpetuate racial oppression" and "distorted future views of the biological basis of race." [104] When a DNA test attempted to determine the identity of the child, it was impossible to get an accurate reading since the bones had been handled too many times, [105] and the skull had been lost in Germany during World War II. Mary Beard states that the age of the skeleton is too young to be that of Arsinoe (the bones said to be that of a 15–18-year-old child, with Arsinoe being around her mid twenties at her death). [106]

Great Sphinx of Giza

The identity of the model for the Great Sphinx of Giza is unknown. [107] Most experts [108] believe that the face of the Sphinx represents the likeness of the Pharaoh Khafra, although a few Egyptologists and interested amateurs have proposed different hypotheses. [ citation needed ]

An early description of the Sphinx, "typically negro in all its features", is recorded in the travel notes of a French scholar, Volney, who visited Egypt between 1783 and 1785 [109] along with French novelist Gustave Flaubert. [110] A similar description was given in the "well-known book" [15] by Vivant Denon, where he described the sphinx as "the character is African but the mouth, the lips of which are thick." [111] Following Volney, Denon, and other early writers, numerous Afrocentric scholars, such as Du Bois, [112] [113] [114] Diop [115] and Asante [116] have characterized the face of the Sphinx as Black, or "Negroid".

American geologist Robert M. Schoch has written that the "Sphinx has a distinctive African, Nubian, or Negroid aspect which is lacking in the face of Khafre". [117] [118] but he was described by others such as Ronald H. Fritze and Mark Lehner of being a "pseudoscientific writer". [119] [120] David S. Anderson writes in Lost City, Found Pyramid: Understanding Alternative Archaeologies and Pseudoscientific Practices that Van Sertima's claim that "the sphinx was a portrait statue of the black pharoah Khafre" is a form of "pseudoarchaeology" not supported by evidence. [121] He compares it to the claim that Olmec colossal heads had "African origins", which is not taken seriously by Mesoamerican scholars such as Richard Diehl and Ann Cyphers. [122]

Kemet

Ancient Egyptians referred to their homeland as Kmt (conventionally pronounced as Kemet). According to Cheikh Anta Diop, the Egyptians referred to themselves as "Black" people or kmt, and km was the etymological root of other words, such as Kam or Ham, which refer to Black people in Hebrew tradition. [11] : 27 [123] A review of David Goldenberg's The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity and Islam states that Goldenberg "argues persuasively that the biblical name Ham bears no relationship at all to the notion of blackness and as of now is of unknown etymology". [124] Diop, [125] William Leo Hansberry, [125] and Aboubacry Moussa Lam [126] have argued that kmt was derived from the skin color of the Nile valley people, which Diop claimed was black. [11] : 21,26 The claim that the ancient Egyptians had black skin has become a cornerstone of Afrocentric historiography. [125]

Mainstream scholars hold that kmt means "the black land" or "the black place", and that this is a reference to the fertile black soil that was washed down from Central Africa by the annual Nile inundation. By contrast the barren desert outside the narrow confines of the Nile watercourse was called dšrt (conventionally pronounced deshret) or "the red land". [125] [127] Raymond Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian translates kmt into "Egyptians", [128] Gardiner translates it as "the Black Land, Egypt". [129]

At the UNESCO Symposium in 1974, Sauneron, Obenga, and Diop concluded that KMT and KM meant black. [11] : 40 However, Sauneron clarified that the adjective Kmtyw means "people of the black land" rather than "black people", and that the Egyptians never used the adjective Kmtyw to refer to the various black peoples they knew of, they only used it to refer to themselves. [130]

Ancient Egyptian art

Ancient Egyptian tombs and temples contained thousands of paintings, sculptures, and written works, which reveal a great deal about the people of that time. However, their depictions of themselves in their surviving art and artifacts are rendered in sometimes symbolic, rather than realistic, pigments. As a result, ancient Egyptian artifacts provide sometimes conflicting and inconclusive evidence of the ethnicity of the people who lived in Egypt during dynastic times. [131] [132]

In their own art, "Egyptians are often represented in a color that is officially called dark red", according to Diop. [10] : 48 Arguing against other theories, Diop quotes Champollion-Figeac, who states, "one distinguishes on Egyptian monuments several species of blacks, differing. with respect to complexion, which makes Negroes black or copper-colored." [10] : 55 Regarding an expedition by King Sesostris, Cherubini states the following concerning captured southern Africans, "except for the panther skin about their loins, are distinguished by their color, some entirely black, others dark brown. [10] : 58–59 University of Chicago scholars assert that Nubians are generally depicted with black paint, but the skin pigment used in Egyptian paintings to refer to Nubians can range "from dark red to brown to black". [133] This can be observed in paintings from the tomb of the Egyptian Huy, as well as Ramses II's temple at Beit el-Wali. [134] Also, Snowden indicates that Romans had accurate knowledge of "negroes of a red, copper-colored complexion . among African tribes". [135]

Conversely, Najovits states "Egyptian art depicted Egyptians on the one hand and Nubians and other blacks on the other hand with distinctly different ethnic characteristics and depicted this abundantly and often aggressively. The Egyptians accurately, arrogantly and aggressively made national and ethnic distinctions from a very early date in their art and literature." [136] He continues, "There is an extraordinary abundance of Egyptian works of art which clearly depicted sharply contrasted reddish-brown Egyptians and black Nubians." [136]

Barbara Mertz writes in Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt: "The concept of race would have been totally alien to them [Ancient Egyptians] [..]The skin color that painters usually used for men is a reddish brown. Women were depicted as lighter in complexion, [137] perhaps because they didn’t spend so much time out of doors. Some individuals are shown with black skins. I cannot recall a single example of the words “black,” “brown,” or “white” being used in an Egyptian text to describe a person." She gives the example of one of Thutmose III’s “sole companions”, who was Nubian or Cushite. In his funerary scroll, he is shown with dark brown skin instead of the conventional reddish brown used for Egyptians. [30]

Table of Nations controversy

However, Manu Ampim, a professor at Merritt College specializing in African and African American history and culture, claims in the book Modern Fraud: The Forged Ancient Egyptian Statues of Ra-Hotep and Nofret, that many ancient Egyptian statues and artworks are modern frauds that have been created specifically to hide the "fact" that the ancient Egyptians were black, while authentic artworks that demonstrate black characteristics are systematically defaced or even "modified". Ampim repeatedly makes the accusation that the Egyptian authorities are systematically destroying evidence that "proves" that the ancient Egyptians were black, under the guise of renovating and conserving the applicable temples and structures. He further accuses "European" scholars of wittingly participating in and abetting this process. [138] [139]

Ampim has a specific concern about the painting of the "Table of Nations" in the Tomb of Ramesses III (KV11). The "Table of Nations" is a standard painting that appears in a number of tombs, and they were usually provided for the guidance of the soul of the deceased. [131] [140] Among other things, it described the "four races of men" as follows: (translation by E.A. Wallis Budge) [140] "The first are RETH, the second are AAMU, the third are NEHESU, and the fourth are THEMEHU. The RETH are Egyptians, the AAMU are dwellers in the deserts to the east and north-east of Egypt, the NEHESU are the black races, and the THEMEHU are the fair-skinned Libyans."

The archaeologist Karl Richard Lepsius documented many ancient Egyptian tomb paintings in his work Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien. [141] In 1913, after the death of Lepsius, an updated reprint of the work was produced, edited by Kurt Sethe. This printing included an additional section, called the "Ergänzungsband" in German, which incorporated many illustrations that did not appear in Lepsius' original work. One of them, plate 48, illustrated one example of each of the four "nations" as depicted in KV11, and shows the "Egyptian nation" and the "Nubian nation" as identical to each other in skin color and dress. Professor Ampim has declared that plate 48 is a true reflection of the original painting, and that it "proves" that the ancient Egyptians were identical in appearance to the Nubians, even though he admits no other examples of the "Table of Nations" show this similarity. He has further accused "Euro-American writers" of attempting to mislead the public on this issue. [142]

The late Egyptologist Frank J. Yurco visited the tomb of Ramesses III (KV11), and in a 1996 article on the Ramesses III tomb reliefs he pointed out that the depiction of plate 48 in the Ergänzungsband section is not a correct depiction of what is actually painted on the walls of the tomb. Yurco notes, instead, that plate 48 is a "pastiche" of samples of what is on the tomb walls, arranged from Lepsius' notes after his death, and that a picture of a Nubian person has erroneously been labeled in the pastiche as an Egyptian person. Yurco points also to the much more recent photographs of Dr. Erik Hornung as a correct depiction of the actual paintings. [143] (Erik Hornung, The Valley of the Kings: Horizon of Eternity, 1990). Ampim nonetheless continues to claim that plate 48 shows accurately the images that stand on the walls of KV11, and he categorically accuses both Yurco and Hornung of perpetrating a deliberate deception for the purposes of misleading the public about the true race of the ancient Egyptians. [142]

Fayyum mummy portraits

The Roman era Fayum mummy portraits attached to coffins containing the latest dated mummies discovered in the Faiyum Oasis represent a population of both native Egyptians and those with mixed Greek heritage. [144] The dental morphology of the mummies align more with the indigenous North African population than Greek or other later colonial European settlers. [145]

Black queen controversy

The late British Africanist Basil Davidson stated "Whether the Ancient Egyptians were as black or as brown in skin color as other Africans may remain an issue of emotive dispute probably, they were both. Their own artistic conventions painted them as pink, but pictures on their tombs show they often married queens shown as entirely black [20] being from the south." [146] Yaacov Shavit wrote that "Egyptian men have a reddish complexion, while Egyptian women have a clear yellowish cast and moreover there are almost no black women in the many wall paintings." [147]

Ahmose-Nefertari is an example. In most depictions of Ahmose-Nefertari, she is pictured with black skin, [148] [149] while in some instances her skin is blue [150] or red. [151] In 1939 Flinders Petrie said "an invasion from the south. established a black queen as the divine ancestress of the XVIIIth dynasty" [152] [20] He also said "a possibility of the black being symbolic has been suggested" [152] and "Nefertari must have married a Libyan, as she was the mother of Amenhetep I, who was of fair Libyan style." [152] In 1961 Alan Gardiner, in describing the walls of tombs in the Deir el-Medina area, noted in passing that Ahmose-Nefertari was "well represented" in these tomb illustrations, and that her countenance was sometimes black and sometimes blue. He did not offer any explanation for these colors, but noted that her probable ancestry ruled out that she might have had black blood. [150] In 1974, Diop described Ahmose-Nefertari as "typically negroid." [11] : 17 In the controversial book Black Athena, the hypotheses of which have been widely rejected by mainstream scholarship, Martin Bernal considered her skin color in paintings to be a clear sign of Nubian ancestry. [153] In more recent times, scholars such as Joyce Tyldesley, Sigrid Hodel-Hoenes, and Graciela Gestoso Singer, argued that her skin color is indicative of her role as a goddess of resurrection, since black is both the color of the fertile land of Egypt and that of Duat, the underworld. [148] Singer recognizes that "Some scholars have suggested that this is a sign of Nubian ancestry." [148] Singer also states a statuette of Ahmose-Nefertari at the Museo Egizio in Turin which shows her with a black face, though her arms and feet are not darkened, thus suggesting that the black coloring has an iconographic motive and does not reflect her actual appearance. [154] : 90 [155] [148]

Queen Tiye is another example of the controversy. American journalists Michael Specter, Felicity Barringer, and others describe one of her sculptures as that of a "black African". [156] [157] [158] Egyptologist Frank J. Yurco has examined her mummy, which he described as having 'long, wavy brown hair, a high-bridged, arched nose and moderately thin lips." [157]

Since the second half of the 20th century, typological and hierarchical models of race have increasingly been rejected by scientists, and most scholars have held that applying modern notions of race to ancient Egypt is anachronistic. [159] [160] [161] The current position of modern scholarship is that the Egyptian civilization was an indigenous Nile Valley development (see population history of Egypt). [41] [42] [43] [44] At the UNESCO symposium in 1974, most participants concluded that the ancient Egyptian population was indigenous to the Nile Valley, and was made up of people from north and south of the Sahara who were differentiated by their color. [24]

Black Egyptian hypothesis

The Black Egyptian hypothesis, which has been rejected by mainstream scholarship, is the hypothesis that ancient Egypt was a Black civilization. [10] : 1,27,43,51 [162] Although there is consensus that Ancient Egypt was indigenous to Africa, the hypothesis that Ancient Egypt was a "black civilization" has met with "profound" disagreement. [163]

The Black Egyptian hypothesis includes a particular focus on links to Sub Saharan cultures and the questioning of the race of specific notable individuals from Dynastic times, including Tutankhamun [164] the person represented in the Great Sphinx of Giza, [10] : 1,27,43,51 [165] [166] and the Greek Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra. [167] [168] [169] [170] Advocates of the Black African model rely heavily on writings from Classical Greek historians, including Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, and Herodotus. Advocates claim that these "classical" authors referred to Egyptians as "Black with woolly hair". [171] [10] : 1,27,43,51,278,288 [172] : 316–321 [162] : 52–53 [173] : 21 The Greek word used was "melanchroes", and the English language translation of this Greek word is disputed, being translated by many as "dark skinned" [174] [175] and by many others as "black". [10] : 1,27,43,51,278,288 [162] : 52–53 [173] : 15–60 [176] [177] Diop said "Herodotus applied melanchroes to both Ethiopians and Egyptians. and melanchroes is the strongest term in Greek to denote blackness." [10] : 241–242 Snowden claims that Diop is distorting his classical sources and is quoting them selectively. [178] There is dispute about the historical accuracy of the works of Herodotus – some scholars support the reliability of Herodotus [10] : 2–5 [179] : 1 [180] [181] [182] [183] while other scholars regard his works as being unreliable as historical sources, particularly those relating to Egypt. [184] [185] [186] [187] [188] [189] [190] [191] [192] [193] [194]

Other claims used to support the Black Hypothesis included testing melanin levels in a small sample of mummies, [11] : 20,37 [10] : 236–243 language affinities between ancient Egyptian language and sub-saharan languages, [11] : 28,39–41,54–55 [195] interpretations of the origin of the name Kmt, conventionally pronounced Kemet, used by the ancient Egyptians to describe themselves or their land (depending on points of view), [11] : 27,38,40 biblical traditions, [196] [11] : 27–28 shared B blood group between Egyptians and West Africans, [11] : 37 and interpretations of the depictions of the Egyptians in numerous paintings and statues. [10] : 6–42 The hypothesis also claimed cultural affiliations, such as circumcision, [10] : 112, 135–138 matriarchy, totemism, hair braiding, head binding, [197] and kingship cults. [10] : 1–9,134–155 Artifacts found at Qustul (near Abu Simbel – Modern Sudan) in 1960–64 were seen as showing that ancient Egypt and the A-Group culture of Nubia shared the same culture and were part of the greater Nile Valley sub-stratum, [198] [199] [200] [201] [202] but more recent finds in Egypt indicate that the Qustul rulers probably adopted/emulated the symbols of Egyptian pharaohs. [203] [204] [205] [206] [207] [208] Authors and critics state the hypothesis is primarily adopted by Afrocentrists. [209] [210] [211] [212] [213] [214] [215] [216]

At the UNESCO "Symposium on the Peopling of Ancient Egypt and the Deciphering of the Meroitic script" in Cairo in 1974, there was consensus that Ancient Egypt was indigenous to Africa, but the Black Hypothesis met with "profound" disagreement. [163] The current position of modern scholarship is that the Egyptian civilization was an indigenous Nile Valley development (see population history of Egypt). [41] [42] [43] [44]

Asiatic race theory

The Asiatic race theory, which has been rejected by mainstream scholarship, is the hypothesis that the ancient Egyptians were the lineal descendants of the biblical Ham, through his son Mizraim. [ citation needed ]

This theory was the most dominant view from the Early Middle Ages (c. 500 AD) all the way up to the early 19th century. [217] [218] [15] The descendants of Ham were traditionally considered to be the darkest-skinned branch of humanity, either because of their geographic allotment to Africa or because of the Curse of Ham. [219] [15] Thus, Diop cites Gaston Maspero "Moreover, the Bible states that Mesraim, son of Ham, brother of Chus (Kush) . and of Canaan, came from Mesopotamia to settle with his children on the banks of the Nile." [10] : 5–9

By the 20th century, the Asiatic race theory and its various offshoots were abandoned but were superseded by two related theories: the Eurocentric Hamitic hypothesis, asserting that a Caucasian racial group moved into North and East Africa from early prehistory subsequently bringing with them all advanced agriculture, technology and civilization, and the Dynastic race theory, proposing that Mesopotamian invaders were responsible for the dynastic civilization of Egypt (c. 3000 BC). In sharp contrast to the Asiatic race theory, neither of these theories proposes that Caucasians were the indigenous inhabitants of Egypt. [220]

At the UNESCO "Symposium on the Peopling of Ancient Egypt and the Deciphering of the Meroitic Script" in Cairo in 1974, none of the participants explicitly voiced support for any theory where Egyptians were Caucasian with a dark pigmentation.". [11] : 43 [23] The current position of modern scholarship is that the Egyptian civilization was an indigenous Nile Valley development (see population history of Egypt). [41] [42] [43] [44]

Caucasian / Hamitic hypothesis

The Caucasian hypothesis, which has been rejected by mainstream scholarship, is the hypothesis that the Nile valley "was originally peopled by a branch of the Caucasian race". [221] It was proposed in 1844 by Samuel George Morton, who acknowledged that Negroes were present in ancient Egypt but claimed they were either captives or servants. [222] George Gliddon (1844) wrote: "Asiatic in their origin . the Egyptians were white men, of no darker hue than a pure Arab, a Jew, or a Phoenician." [223]

The similar Hamitic hypothesis, which has been rejected by mainstream scholarship, developed directly from the Asiatic Race Theory, and argued that the Ethiopid and Arabid populations of the Horn of Africa were the inventors of agriculture and had brought all civilization to Africa. It asserted that these people were Caucasians, not Negroid. It also rejected any Biblical basis despite using Hamitic as the theory's name. [224] Charles Gabriel Seligman in his Some Aspects of the Hamitic Problem in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1913) and later works argued that the ancient Egyptians were among this group of Caucasian Hamites, having arrived in the Nile Valley during early prehistory and introduced technology and agriculture to primitive natives they found there. [225]

The Italian anthropologist Giuseppe Sergi (1901) believed that ancient Egyptians were the Eastern African (Hamitic) branch of the Mediterranean race, which he called "Eurafrican". According to Sergi, the Mediterranean race or "Eurafrican" contains three varieties or sub-races: the African (Hamitic) branch, the Mediterranean "proper" branch and the Nordic (depigmented) branch. [226] Sergi maintained in summary that the Mediterranean race (excluding the depigmented Nordic or 'white') is: "a brown human variety, neither white nor Negroid, but pure in its elements, that is to say not a product of the mixture of Whites with Negroes or Negroid peoples". [227] Grafton Elliot Smith modified the theory in 1911, [228] stating that the ancient Egyptians were a dark haired "brown race", [229] most closely "linked by the closest bonds of racial affinity to the Early Neolithic populations of the North African littoral and South Europe", [230] and not Negroid. [231] Smith's "brown race" is not synonymous or equivalent with Sergi's Mediterranean race. [232] The Hamitic Hypothesis was still popular in the 1960s and late 1970s and was supported notably by Anthony John Arkell and George Peter Murdock. [233]

At the UNESCO "Symposium on the Peopling of Ancient Egypt and the Deciphering of the Meroitic Script" in Cairo in 1974, none of the participants explicitly voiced support for any theory where Egyptians were Caucasian with a dark pigmentation." [11] : 43 [23] The current position of modern scholarship is that the Egyptian civilization was an indigenous Nile Valley development (see population history of Egypt). [41] [42] [43] [44]

Turanid race hypothesis

The Turanid race hypothesis, which has been rejected by mainstream scholarship, is the hypothesis that the ancient Egyptians belonged to the Turanid race, linking them to the Tatars.

It was proposed by Egyptologist Samuel Sharpe in 1846, who was "inspired" by some ancient Egyptian paintings, which depict Egyptians with sallow or yellowish skin. He said "From the colour given to the women in their paintings we learn that their skin was yellow, like that of the Mongul Tartars, who have given their name to the Mongolian variety of the human race. The single lock of hair on the young nobles reminds us also of the Tartars." [234]

The current position of modern scholarship is that the Egyptian civilization was an indigenous Nile Valley development (see population history of Egypt). [41] [42] [43] [44]

Dynastic race theory

The Dynastic race theory, which has been rejected by mainstream scholarship, is the hypothesis that a Mesopotamian force had invaded Egypt in predynastic times, imposed itself on the indigenous Badarian people, and become their rulers. [41] [235] It further argued that the Mesopotamian-founded state or states then conquered both Upper and Lower Egypt and founded the First Dynasty of Egypt.

It was proposed in the early 20th century by Egyptologist Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, who deduced that skeletal remains found at pre-dynastic sites at Naqada (Upper Egypt) indicated the presence of two different races, with one race differentiated physically by a noticeably larger skeletal structure and cranial capacity. [236] Petrie also noted new architectural styles—the distinctly Mesopotamian "niched-facade" architecture—pottery styles, cylinder seals and a few artworks, as well as numerous Predynastic rock and tomb paintings depicting Mesopotamian style boats, symbols, and figures. Based on plentiful cultural evidence, Petrie concluded that the invading ruling elite was responsible for the seemingly sudden rise of Egyptian civilization. In the 1950s, the Dynastic Race Theory was widely accepted by mainstream scholarship. [42] [237] [238]

While there is clear evidence the Naqada II culture borrowed abundantly from Mesopotamia, the Naqada II period had a large degree of continuity with the Naqada I period, [239] and the changes which did happen during the Naqada periods happened over significant amounts of time. [240] The most commonly held view today is that the achievements of the First Dynasty were the result of a long period of cultural and political development, [241] and the current position of modern scholarship is that the Egyptian civilization was an indigenous Nile Valley development (see population history of Egypt). [41] [42] [43] [242] [44]

The Senegalese Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop, fought against the Dynastic Race Theory with their own "Black Egyptian" theory and claimed, among other things, that Eurocentric scholars supported the Dynastic Race Theory "to avoid having to admit that Ancient Egyptians were black". [243] Martin Bernal proposed that the Dynastic Race theory was conceived by European scholars to deny Egypt its African roots. [244]


Love, Blood And The Ancient History Of The Color Red

Colors mean different things to different people across time and space, but the color red has remained an integral way of representing hate, love and luxury for millennia.

In a new book on the history of the color from medieval historian Michel Pastoureau, the rich history of red in western Europe is brought to life. The book is a companion to his other color studies of green, blue and black. From the start, Pastoureau makes a bold claim: "Red is the archetypal color, the first color humans mastered, fabricated, reproduced, and broke down into different shades, first in painting, later in dyeing. This has given it primacy over all other colors through the millennia."

Roman fresco from the fullonica (dyer's shop) of Veranius Hypsaeus in Pompeii. Now at the Museo . [+] Archeologico Nazionale (Naples).

The book moves from the prehistoric caves of Spain around 30,000 BCE to the 20th century through a sweeping yet gripping narrative. Of particular interest is his investigation of red within the context of ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean. As had been the case in prehistoric painting, 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 also became deft at reverse engineering the color red by reprocessing fabrics previously dyed with red madder (a plant) or kermes (made from insects).

Burial slab for a woman named Gnome, a maid who also served as a hairdresser. Red is used to . [+] highlight her epitaph. She died on January 28, 2 CE (Baths of Diocletian, Rome).

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 to visitors. Red was also used on inscriptions and then later, in medieval manuscripts, in order to allow people to read red lettering. Roman inscriptions were often white with red lettering.

Within medieval scriptoria for copying manuscripts, there were often specialists called rubricators who used red to highlight important portions and chapters in red. Thus texts could be organized through color. The term "red letter day" comes from the fact that certain festivals and celebrations on Roman and then ecclesiastical calendars were often presented in red.

Rubricator: When quires were finished, a corrector checked a MS & then a rubricator added red to titles, chapter etc https://t.co/QbUgNNLUhD pic.twitter.com/ietoGu2Nzo

— Sarah Bond (@SarahEBond) March 9, 2017

Pastoureau argues that neither Greek nor Latin had a specific adjective for the color pink. The adjective roseus, related to the word for rose (rosa) instead meant a vibrant red. This is perhaps a small point to quibble with, but there was indeed a rare word for hot pink mentioned in an account of the later 3rd century emperor Aurelian: "He also allowed matrons to have tunics and other garments of purple, whereas they had had before only fabrics of changeable colours, or, as frequently, of a bright pink" (Historia Augusta, Life of Aurelian, 46). The adjective oxypaederōtinus (originally from the Greek ὀξυπαιδερώτινος) , does seem to have denoted a bright pink hue.

The tracking of how we use color language is fascinating and thought-provoking: "A Roman could perfectly well say, 'I like red togas I hate blue flowers,' but it was hard for him to declare, 'I like red I hate blue,' without specifying something in particular. And for a Greek, Egyptian, or Israelite, it was even more difficult." According to Pastoureau, color abstraction was less common and was instead often attached to an object. However, the writings of people such as Pliny the Elder--who recorded many colors and the materials used to create them--does present many abstract color terms in his Natural History.

Red was also an integral part of the Roman games. Although we have a number of depictions of gladiatorial combat transmitted through texts, relief, inscriptions, and even graffiti, many of the vibrant colors of the arena and their original meaning has been overlooked. Sean Burrus, an expert in ancient color now at the University of Michigan's Frankel Institute for Advance Judaic Studies, noted the role of color in objects that depicted the Roman games: " A great example of the dazzling and colorful scenes of the Roman arena is a fragmentary painted-glass beaker in the Met collection which shows a gladiatorial scene. It really captures the visual feast on offer in the ancient arena, with no fewer than six colors used to depict the different combatants, in this case brightly colored animals and gladiators with multicolored armor."

A second century CE painted glass depiction of gladiatorial combat and beast fights now at the . [+] Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Metropolitan Museum of Art (CC0 1.0)

As Burrus notes, such objects recreate a world we can no longer visit and perhaps add a little fantasy to the mix: "The bold, bright colors give us a sense of the dizzying display a spectator could expect in the Roman arena. I suspect this was the goal of the artisan who made it: not to record a historical event but to capture the spectator’s experience by playing up the intensity of Roman spectacles with a bold color palette that veers even into garish and unrealistic territory (a blue leopard!)." Without color photographs to display, Greeks and Romans used domestic frescoes, mosaic and even glass to capture the colors of everyday life--with red providing a special treat.

Pastoureau's investigation into the transition from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages is key and richly illustrated. The liturgical use of red within the Church of the medieval era is investigated fully, as is the use of red within heraldry. As I have noted before, the production of synthetic colors in the period as a side-product of alchemy experiments is telling. Synthetic hues are not just a product of the modern era, but were often a result of medieval experiments attempting to create gold. When Arab alchemists mingled sulphur with mercury, they created a new shade we call vermilion. Vermilion was perfected in China and further developed by alchemists within the Islamic eastern Mediterranean. It only came to western Europe between the eighth and eleventh centuries.

Synthetic vermilion from the 'Alchemy of Color' exhibit studying medieval alchemy that was . [+] previously at the J. Paul Getty Research Center.

There is far too much information to report in this post alone, but there is no doubt that the color red has a rich history worth your time. Pastoureau notes that his fifth book on color history will be released in the coming years, this one on yellow. Before all of these books, the art historian carefully provides a caveat for those of us studying the history of colors generally: "Our knowledge, our sensibility, our present-day 'truths' are not those of yesterday and will not be those of tomorrow" Perceptions of color are not universal. As with anything, it is up to us to contextualize, understand and then translate the messages of various historical shades, rather than taking their meaning for granted.


Color in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians had a great appreciation for life which is clearly depicted through their art. Images of people enjoying themselves – whether in this life or the next – are as plentiful as those most often seen of the gods or funerary rituals. The early Egyptologists who first encountered the culture focused their attention on the many examples of funerary art found in tombs and concluded that Egyptian culture was death-obsessed when, in reality, the ancient Egyptians were wholly absorbed in living life to its fullest.

A detail from the throne of Tutankhamun which shows the phara

Amenhotep III (1386-1353 BCE) at Malkata was brightly painted, the outer walls of white and the interiors of blue, yellow, and green, with murals and other ornamentation throughout. These colors were not chosen randomly but each had a very specific symbolism for the Egyptians and were used to convey that significance. Egyptologist Rosalie David comments on this:

Colour was regarded as an integral element of all art representations, including wall-scenes, statuary, tomb goods, and jewelry, and the magical qualities of a specific color were believed to become an integral part of any object to which it was added.

Color in ancient Egypt was used not only in realistic representations of scenes from every life but to illustrate the heavenly realms of the gods, the afterlife, and the stories and histories of the deities of the Egyptian pantheon. Each color had its own particular symbolism and was created from elements found in nature. Egyptologist Margaret Bunson writes how “artisans began to observe the natural occurrence of colors in their surroundings and pulverized various oxides and other materials to develop the hues they desired” (54). This process of Egyptian artists creating colors for their art dates to the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150-c. 2613 BCE) but becomes more pronounced during the time of the Old Kingdom (c. 2613-2181 BCE). From the Old Kingdom until the country was annexed by Rome after 30 BCE, color was an important component of every work of art fashioned by the Egyptians.

A detail from the throne of Tutankhamun which shows the phara

Realism In Color

Each color was created by mixing various naturally occurring elements and each became standardized in time in order to ensure a uniformity in art work. An Egyptian male, for example, was always depicted with a reddish-brown skin which was achieved by mixing a certain amount of the standard red paint recipe with standard brown. Variations in the mix would occur in different eras but, overall, remained more or less the same. This color for the male’s skin was chosen for realism in the piece, in order to symbolize the outdoor life of most males, while Egyptian women were painted with lighter skin (using yellow and white mixes) since they spent more time indoors.

These paintings from the tomb of Nebamun (c. 1350 BCE) show the New Kingdom period accountant Nebamun hunting birds in the marshes of Egypt. He is accompanied by his wife and daughter. Scenes like these of the deceased enjoying himself were common in New Kingdom tomb chambers.
To the Egyptians, fertile marshes were a symbol of eroticism and rebirth, which gives additional meaning to this image.
On display at the British Museum, London, UK.

The gods were typically represented with gold skin, reflecting the belief that gods did, in fact, have gold skin. An exception to this is the god Osiris who is almost always shown with green or black skin symbolizing fertility, regeneration, and the underworld. Osiris was murdered, returned to life by Isis, and then descended to rule over the land of the dead the colors used in his depictions all symbolize aspects of his story. Whether a scene shows a man and his wife at dinner or the gods in the solar barge, each color used had to accurately represent the various themes of these events.

Color Creation & Symbolism

The different colors below are listed with their Egyptian name following, the materials used in creating them, and what they symbolized. The definitions follow the work of Richard H. Wilkinson in his Symbolism & Magic in Egyptian Art and Margaret Bunson’s Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, supplemented by other works.

A scene from the Hall of Osiris at Abydos which shows the raising of djed pillars, symbols of stability.

Red (desher) – made from oxidized iron and red ocher, used to create flesh tones and symbolizing life but also evil and destruction. Red was associated with both fire and blood and so symbolized vitality and energy but could also be used to accentuate a certain danger or define a destructive deity. The god Set, for example, who murdered Osiris and brought chaos to Egypt at the beginning of time, was always represented with a red face or red hair or completely in red. One also sees this pattern in written work where the color red is sometimes used to signify a dangerous character or aspect in a story. In wall paintings and tomb scenes red must be carefully interpreted within the context of the scene. Although it was frequently used for emphasis of danger or even evil, it is also as commonly seen symbolizing life or a higher being (as in depictions of the Eye of Ra) or elevated status as in the Red Crown of Lower Egypt.

An Egyptian protective amulet in the form of the Eye of Horus (wedjat). Earthenware, 6th-4th century BCE. (Louvre Museum, Paris)

Blue (irtiu and khesbedj) – one of the most popular colors, commonly referred to as “Egyptian Blue”, made from copper and iron oxides with silica and calcium, symbolizing fertility, birth, rebirth and life and usually used to depict water and the heavens. Wilkinson writes, “by the same token, blue could signify the river Nile and its associated crops, offerings, and fertility, and many of the so-called `fecundity’ figures which represent the river’s bounty are of this hue” (107). Statues and depictions of the god Thoth are routinely blue, blue-green, or have some aspect of blue in them linking the god of wisdom with the life-giving heavens. Blue also symbolized protection. Fertility amulets of the protector-god Bes were often blue as were the tattoos women would wear of Bes or diamond-shaped patterns on their lower abdomen, back, and thighs. It is thought these tattoos were worn as amulets to protect women during pregnancy and childbirth.

Yellow (khenet and kenit) – made from ocher and oxides originally but, from the New Kingdom (c. 1570-1069 BCE) was mixed from arsenic trisulphide and symbolizing the sun and eternity. Yellow was darkened for the golden flesh-color of the gods or lightened with white to suggest purity or some sacred aspect of a character or object. Isis, for example, is always depicted with gold skin in a white dress but, sometimes, her dress is a light yellow to emphasize her eternal aspect in a scene or story. It is thought that priests and priestesses of the gods of Egypt would sometimes dress as their deities and Wilkinson suggests that priests of the god Anubis would color their skins yellow on certain occassions to “become” the god for the event. Although Anubis was traditionally represented as black-skinned, there are a number of texts depicting him with the golden hue of the other gods.

Green (wadj) – mixed from malachite, a copper mineral, and symbolizing goodness, growth, life, the afterlife, and resurrection. The Egyptian afterlife was known as The Field of Reeds and, in some eras, as The Field of Malachite and was always associated with the color green. Wilkinson writes how green was “naturally a symbol of growing things and of life itself” and goes on to point out how, in ancient Egypt, “to do `green things’ was a euphemism for positive, life-producing, behavior in contrast to `red things’ which symbolized evil” (108). Green is the color of the dying and reviving god Osiris and also of the Eye of Horus, one of the most sacred objects in Egyptian mythology. In early tomb paintings the spirit of the deceased is shown as white but, later, as green to associate the dead with the eternal Osiris. In keeping with the symbolism of ressurection, green is also often used to depict the goddess Hathor, Lady of the Sycamore. Hathor was closely associated with the Sycamore tree, with renewal, transformation, and rebirth. Mummies of tattooed women suggest the ink could have been green, blue, or black and tattoos have been linked with the worship of Hathor.

A detail from the Book of the Dead of Aaneru from Thebes, Third Intermediate Period, XXI Dynasty, 1070-946 BCE. (Egyptian Museum, Turin)

White (hedj and shesep) – made from chalk mixed with gypsum, often employed as a lightener for other hues, and symbolizing purity, sacredness, cleanliness, and clarity. White was the color of Egyptian clothing and so associated with daily life but was frequently employed in artistic pieces to symbolize the transcendent nature of life as well. Priests always wore white and so did temple attendants and temple personnel taking part in a festival or ritual. The objects used in rituals (such as bowls, plates, altars, tables) were made of white alabaster. White, like the other colors, was used realistically in depicting clothing and objects of that color in real life but frequently is employed to highlight the importance of some aspect of a painting in some cases, it did both these things. The White Crown of Upper Egypt, for example, is routinely referred to as white – and so is realistically depicted – but also symbolized the close connection to the gods enjoyed by the king – and so symbolically represents purity and the sacred.

A scene from a wooden Egyptian sarcophagus depicting Anubis, the god of mummification and the afterlife. c. 400 BCE

Black (kem) – made from carbon, ground charcoal, mixed with water and sometimes burnt animal bones, symbolized death, darkness, the underworld, as well as life, birth, and resurrection. Wilkinson writes, “the symbolic association of the color with life and fertility may well have originated in the fertile black silt deposited by the Nile in its annual flooding and Osiris – god of the Nile and of the underworld – was thus frequently depicted with black skin”. Black and green are often used interchangably in Egyptian art, in fact, as symbols of life. Statues of the gods were frequently carved from black stone but, just as often, from green. Although black was associated with death it had no connotation of evil – which was represented by red – and, frequently appears along with green, or instead of green, in depictions of the afterlife. Anubis, the god who guides the dead to the hall of judgment and is present at the weighing of the soul’s heart, is almost always depicted as a black figure as is Bastet, goddess of women, one of the most popular deities in all of Egypt. Tattoos of Bes were done in black ink and images of the afterlife frequently make use of a black background to not only accentuate the gold and white of the foreground but also symbolize the concept of rebirth.

These basic colors were often mixed, diluted, or otherwise combined to create colors such as purple, pink, teal, gold, silver, and other hues. Artists were not bound by the minerals they mixed their paints from but only by their imaginations and talent in creating the colors they needed to tell their stories.

BLACK SYMBOLIZED DEATH, DARKNESS, THE UNDERWORLD, AS WELL AS LIFE, BIRTH, & RESURRECTION.

Color in Context

Aesthetic considerations were of great importance to the Egyptians. Art and architecture is charactized by symmetry and even their writing system, the hieroglyphics, were set down in accordance with visual beauty as an integral aspect of their function. In reading hieroglyphics, one understands the meaning by noting which direction the figures are facing if they face left, then one reads to the left and, if up or down or right, in whichever of those directions. The direction of the figures provides the context of the message and so provides a means of understanding what it being said.

A pharaoh was known primarily by his throne name. This was traditionally a statement about his divine father, the sun-god Ra, so all cartouches with throne names display a sun-god at the top. A king’s birth name was the only name he had already as a prince and is preceded by the epithet “son of Ra”. Rulers deemed unimportant or illegitimate, including ruling queens, have been omitted from this list.

In the same way, color in Egyptian art must be interpreted in context. In a certain painting, red might symbolize evil or destruction but the color should not always instantly be interpreted along those lines. Black is a color often misinterpreted in Egyptian art because of the modern-day association of black with evil. Images of Tutankhamun, found in his tomb, sometimes depict him with black skin and these were originally associated with death and grief by the early archaeologists interpreting the finds although the association with death would be correct, and grief did accompany the loss of anyone in ancient Egypt as today, a proper interpretation would be the association of Tutankhamun in death with Osiris and the concept of rebirth and resurrection.

White retains the same meaning in the present day that it had for the ancient Egyptians but, as noted, must also be interpreted in context. The white dress of Isis would signify purity and the sacred yet the white skirt of Set would simply be a representation of how a male Egyptian dressed. Recognizing the symbolism of Egyptian colors, however, and why they were most commonly used, allows one a greater appreciation of Egyptian art and a clearer understanding of the message the ancient artist was trying to convey.


The Fascinating History Of Red Lipstick

The history of red lipstick is a winding tale of power, death, rebellion, and bawdiness. Some smeared it on despite the stigma, while others literally poisoned themselves with toxic lipstick formulas in order to look beautiful. Powerful women used it to assert their space, and others used it to build courage and flirt with the idea of coming out of their boxes.

Lipstick has inspired women like Dita Von Teese to assert, "Heels and red lipstick will put the fear of God into people," and was the driving force behind Coco Chanel's comment, "If you're sad, add more lipstick and attack." Wearing a bold red can give a feeling of power, making one feel like a different version of themselves.

The beauty-minded public has had a long love affair with red lipstick, as it made its way from Cleopatra's vanity to giving Queen Elizabeth I her "kiss of death," leaping from Marilyn Monroe's flirty smirk to your mom's lips when she swiped it on in the mirror each morning. From murder, to prostitution, to witchcraft accusations, the history of red lipstick has a sexy past that's 5,000 years deep. Revel in it below.

Ancient Civilizations

Even 5,000 years ago, people dabbled with pots and paints. Ancient Sumerian men and women were the first to invent lipstick, making it out of crushed gemstones and white lead and painting their lips and eyes with the concoction. According to The Toast, "this was not the last time people were like, 'Check out all this sweet lead! Hey, what if we put it on our mouths oh god I’m dying.'" Egyptians like Cleopatra also added red lip paint to their arsenal, crushing bugs to create a crimson for their lips.

"She (or her slaves) allegedly created lipstick out of flowers, red ocher, fish scales, crushed ants and carmine in a beeswax base to create her own signature red," Rachel Weingarten, beauty historian and author of Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America '40s-'60s , tells Bustle. She says that royalty and the upper class wore color on their lips as a display of social status rather than gender, which is why you'd also see men decorating their faces.

While stains were seen as signs of aristocracy in Egypt, Greece saw it as the mark of the plebeian — or the prostitute. This led to the first known regulation related to makeup, which determined that prostitutes without their trademark wine stained lips could run into some trouble with the law. "Prostitutes were expected to use lip colors and obvious makeup in public, or else they would be punished because it implied that they were deceitfully posing as ladies," Gabriela Hernandez, author of Classic Beauty: The History of Makeup and founder of Besame Cosmetics, explains.

The Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, people tended to go bare-faced, but not out of choice. Instead, the Church decided that painting one's face was a challenge to God and his workmanship, and banned their use.

"Pictures of devils putting lipstick on women appeared often, and women frequently had to address their lipstick use at confession," Sally Pointer, the author of The Artifice of Beauty: A History and Practical Guide to Perfumes and Cosmetics, wrote in her book. But then again, priests did offer some sympathy for husbands, creating a loophole: the use of lipstick was not a mortal sin if done “to remedy severe disfigurement or so as to be not looked down upon by [one’s] husband.” Bless.

The Elizabethan Era

Throughout the 16th century, the relationship between lipstick and the Church continued to be a rocky one, like that one couple that keeps breaking up and getting back together again. While the Dark and Middle Ages saw a strict policy against lip rouge, Queen Elizabeth I paid no attention to the Church's fire and brimstone.

So devoted was she to her lip shade that she went as far as believing it had magical powers, suspecting that it had the ability to heal and ward off death. Which was a darkly ironic leap, seeing how one of the main ingredients was white lead.

"Queen Elizabeth I made her own lip colors, but many of the lipsticks of the time contained ceruse which is made from lead. This would slowly poison and disfigure the wearer until they died of lead poisoning," Hernandez confirms. Finding the Queen dead with a half-inch of lead heavily caked on her lips led to her very literal "kiss of death," giving lip paint a sinister spin.

After her death, the Church swung back to treating lipstick as an issue of morality, to the point where laws were issued. It wasn't just impolite to go trade turnips at the market while wearing red: It was black magic. "The church discouraged the use of cosmetics as being deceitful to men and sinful, and England even had a law punishing its use as witchcraft," Hernandez shares.

The hysteria managed to cross the ocean and over to the colonies. "Like England, some American states also 'protected' men from the 'trickery' of lipstick by allowing a marriage to be annulled if the wife had used lip color during the couple's courtship," Fashionista reported.

That law made its way even to progressive states like Pennsylvania, though according to Racked, Martha Washington still had her own favorite recipe for red lipstick that involved ingredients like wax, hogs’ lard, and raisins. Rules or no rules, women weren't giving up their stains.

The Victorian Era

While the notion of pointy hats and striped stockings disappeared with the turn of the Victorian era in the late 1800's, red lipstick was still seen as something uncomfortably shocking. This fact that only egged on French actress Sarah Bernhardt, notorious for applying her lipstick at cafes and street corners.

"Applying makeup in those days was considered an intimate act simply because it wasn't done in public. So the logic goes that applying it in public made men think of the boudoir where most women beautified themselves. It was also done with a brush, so it was a fairly sensual process. Add to that Bernhardt's flair for the dramatic (the woman slept in a coffin, after all!) and it's likely that it was very saucy indeed," Weingarten notes.

The Early 1900's

Before the flappers got their hands on it, the first and most famous public demonstration of red lipstick was performed by suffragettes as they poured into the New York streets in protest in 1912. In fact, according to Mic, Elizabeth Arden herself was handing out lipstick to marching suffragettes. "Whilst the explicit intention of the suffragists was Votes for Women, the implicit message was that whether they were ‘New Women’ cycling in bloomers and sensible shoes, or elegant ladies in big hats and bright lipstick, women should be free to chose what they wanted to look like and who they wanted to be," historian Madeleine Marsh shared in her book Compacts and Cosmetics. After centuries of the patriarchy limiting women to putting on their lip rogue in secret, the silk wrapped lipstick became a radical symbol of feminism and rebellion.

In 1915, the first lip color in a sliding metal tube was pushed into the market by inventor Maurice Levy, freeing women from the messy task of applying paper-wrapped red. "When the first twist-up lipstick tube was invented in 1915, lipstick became even more popular, as it was now much easier to carry around, versus before when it was found in small compacts or wrapped in paper," Toast reported. The modern recipe was made out of crushed insects, beeswax, and olive oil, and the it would turn rancid on the lips after just a couple of hours of wear. Surprisingly, that didn't stop women from using it.

While lipstick was still ascribed to unruly suffragettes, the stigma against a bright red pout began to recede thanks to Tinseltown and silent film stars like Clara Bow. "Women saw them in the movies and wanted to emulate their looks and personality. They became the model of what was attractive in women so it was easy to use their likenesses to sell product," Hernandez explains.

So much so that by the '30s, Vogue declared that lipstick was "the most important cosmetic for women," according to Fashionista, officially taking away its past taboo.

Mid-Century

With the start of World War II red lipstick took on a patriotic spin, turning the morning routine into a civic duty that gave Hitler the finger. "Hitler hated red lipstick and would not allow any women around him to wear it since he claimed it contained animal fat from sewage," Hernandez shares. Lipstick became a "symbol of resilient femininity in the face of danger," according to Sarah Schaffer, author of Reading Our Lips: The History of Lipstick Regulation in Western Seats of Power, which boosted the morale of both women and the soldiers overseas. So much so that the government ordered factory dressing rooms to be stocked with lipstick to keep up female workers' efficiency.

Women also used their Victory Reds as a way to bring normalcy back to their new roles outside of the house. "Women wore it while going to the factories because it was the only thing left for them as far as a way to assert their femininity, since their clothing was very masculine and they couldn't do much with their hair since it had to be secured so it would not fall into the machinery," Hernandez points out.

Once the war was over and most women put away their work bandanas, red lipstick took a glamorous turn. In the '50s, a magazine ad changed the way women looked at the lipsticks in their purses, linking it to women that seldom stay well behaved. Revlon's iconic "Fire & Ice" campaign, split women into two categories via a quiz with questions like, "would you streak your hair with platinum without consulting your husband" and, "have you ever danced with your shoes off?" that would help them determine if they were "naughty or nice." According to Marsh, it was to bring about images of "Park Avenue whores — elegant but with the sexual thing underneath."

So why was it so successful? "It sparked interest in women because of the fact that it had questions that would qualify you as being either a good girl or a bad girl, more demure or daring. It sparked the imagination of women because it gave them a chance to explore both sides of their personalities since everybody could imagine themselves as being one or the other depending on the situation. The quiz included in the magazines helped to promote this lipstick and made the sales soar," Gabriela shares.

The '70s

When the images of Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall were replaced by Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy in the '60s, red lipstick lost its popularity in makeup drawers. "With the sexual revolution and invention of the miniskirt and birth control, red lipstick was seen as belonging to the last generation (and also, more visible on a man when you're up to no good!) so color choices changed," Weingarten explains. With hippies opting to go au naturel and feminists protesting against makeup as in cahoots with the male gaze, lips took on more neutral trends. But disco — and disco queens like Donna Summer, for example — changed all that.

"Disco's influence with bright colors did bring back the popularity of bold red lip and dark cheek shades," Gabriela confirmed. With Studio 64 and plenty of boogie nights, came a need for slinky jumpsuits and glamorous makeup, bringing back cherry red lips.

The '80s To Present Day

When the 80's fitness boom played out across gyms and Jane Fonda videos, red faded in popularity. "Red lips were not as popular because of the workout craze in the '80s, which brought pink or rose into popularity as day colors, leaving reds for special occasions only," Hernandez shares.

But women like Madonna, Julia Roberts, and Linda Carter (aka Wonder Woman) kept vermilion in vogue throughout the decade. After that, the color has been on and off our radar and our lips. Nowadays, people choose their lip shade based on mood rather than trend, where they can pick out a cherry hue on a Tuesday and switch to black on Wednesday. But with the rise of Taylor Swift fans trying to emulate her classic red-lipped look, pinup styles rising in popularity, and beauty vloggers that challenge us to push beyond of our weekday makeup comfort zones, the world has recently seen a definite surge in bright-red hues.

Thankfully, there's no more wondering if your red lippie is filled with lead, if you'll be tried for witchcraft for wearing it on a first date, or if you'll mortally offend someone while reapplying in the coffee line. These days, the biggest difficulty in wearing red lipstick is choosing which shade you want to slip into your back pocket — which, considering the history, is nothing to pout about.

Images: Polygram Filmed Entertainment & Working Title Films 'Darnley' Portrait, c. 1575 (1) Portrait of Barbara Dürer, c. 1490 (1) Louise Abbema (1) Elizabeth Arden (1) Revlon (1)


10 Arguments That Prove Ancient Egyptians Were Black

Even today, a significant number of mainstream Egyptologists, anthropologists, historians and Hollywood moviemakers continue to deny African people’s role in humankind’s first and greatest civilization. This whitewashing of history negatively impacts Black people and our image in the world. There remains a vital need to correct the misinformation of Africans’ achievements in antiquity.

Senegalese scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop (1923-1986) dedicated his life to scientifically challenging Eurocentric and Arab-centric views of precolonial African culture, specifically those that suggested the ancient civilization of Egypt did not have its origins in Black Africa.

Since some people continue to ignore the overwhelming evidence that indicates ancient Egypt was built, ruled, and populated by dark-skinned African people, Atlanta Blackstar will highlight 10 of the ways Diop proved the ancient Egyptians were Black.

Physical Anthropology Evidence
Based on his review of scientific literature, Diop concluded that most of the skeletons and skulls of the ancient Egyptians clearly indicate they were Negroid people with features very similar to those of modern Black Nubians and other people of the Upper Nile and East Africa. He called attention to studies that included examinations of skulls from the predynastic period (6000 B.C.) that showed a greater percentage of Black characteristics than any other type.

From this information, Diop reasoned that a Black race existed in Egypt at that time and did not migrate at a later stage as some previous theories had suggested.


Comments

MARCCHOPPER, WELL YOU HAVEN'T ANY PROOF THAT WHITE EUROPEANS INVENTED THOSE THINGS YOU MENTIONED.….ALL THOSE THINGS THAT YOU MENTIONED WERE EITHER INVENTED BY BLACK PEOPLE, OR THEY CONTRIBUTED THE MOST TECHNOLOGY TO THOSE INVENTIONS. EVEN YOUR PC (PERSONAL COMPUTER) WAS INVENTED ABY A BLACK COMPUTER SCIENTIST NAME DR. MARK DEAN WHILE LEADING THE TEAM PROJECT WHILE EMPLOYED BY IBM, EVEN "DOT COM” WHICH 80% OF ALL COMPANIES USE TO LOCATE THEM ON THE INTERNET WAS INVENTED BY THE BLACK DR. McHENRY, THE LIGHT BULB FILAMENT WAS INVENTED BY DR. LOUIS LATIMER, THE GAS MASK WAS INVENTED BY DR, GARRETT MORGAN, AND OTHER BLACK SCIENTIST INVENTED THE MOBILE REFRIGERATION UNITS ON CARS, TRUCKS, BUSES, TRAINS AND PLANES. PAPER TO WRITE ON (PAPYRUS) WAS INVENTED IN EGYPT (NORTH AFRICA), SO WAS INK, AND THE FIRST WRITING SUCH AS HIEROGLYPHICS WAS INVESTED BY THE BLACK NUBIANS, AND LATER GIVEN THE NAME HIEROGLYPHICS BY THE EGYPTIANS, ACCORDING TO THE ANCIENT GREEK HISTORIAN, DIODORUS SICULUS….I CAN SEE THAT YOU MUST HAVE STOPPED LEARNING IN JUNIOR HS.

Well, there are blond blue eyes black africans .. just google it , they are beautiful.

Marcchopper Well, the evidence is all around you, but you refuse to accept it Mr. genius. Fact all modern inventions, everything you use from clothing, medicine, homes, radios, TV, planes, trains automobiles etc come from the genius of the Black African mind. For example, the “digital technology” in your mobile phone was by Dr. Jesse Russell, that PC was invented by Dr. Mark Dean who lead the team in its invention, GAS MASKS used by firemen and others was invented by Garrett Morgan, the light bulb filament was by Dr. louis Latimer, the HEART PACEMAKER, as well as the guiding device inside the “TOMAHAWK MISSILE” by Dr. Otis Boykin, the first dependable american clock was by Dr. Benjamin Banneker, as well as he also has a clock named after him over in London called the “BIG BEN”, you got it, “BIG BEN” BENJAMIN Banneker. First successful heart operation by Dr Daniel Hale Williams. First successful surgery to separate twins conjoined at the head was by Dr Ben Carson, DEVICE invented to remove EYE CATARACTS without making blood incisions invented by Dr Paricia Bathe, the mobile air conditioning units for cars, trucks, planes and trains, ESCALATORS, elevators all inveted by Black inventors. Even your chidhood favorite sandwich name “PEANUT BUTTER” and soap you use to wash your body was by Dr. George Washington carver. Lets not forget DOORS, LOCKS, and KEYS, as well as Paper (papyrus) and Ink for pens. I could go on for days while refuting your ignorance, but I will STOP right here. lol

Please provide some evidence of this genius. Fact all modern inventions everything you use from your clothing, medicine, house, phone, radio, tv, film, planes trains and automobiles etc. come from the genius of the white European mind.

Andrea3, your comment was very fascinating, truthful, as well as explains the silliness of non Black Africans twisted and illogical views of ancient Black African empires and civilizations. The genius of the Black mind is simply AMAZING and complex to the rest of the worlds people who are mind bent on doubts about Black African people..


In ancient Egypt, color was an integral part of the substance and being of everything in life. The color of something was a clue to the substance or heart of the matter. When it was said that one could not know the color of the gods, it meant that they themselves were unknowable, and could never be completely understood. In art, colors were clues to the nature of the beings depicted in the work. For instance, when Amon was portrayed with blue skin, it alluded to his cosmic aspect. Osiris' green skin was a reference to his power over vegetation and to his own resurrection.

Of course, not every use of color in Egyptian art was symbolic. When overlapping objects, such as when portraying a row of oxen, the colors of each animal is alternated so as to differentiate each individual beast. Apart from these practical considerations though, it is safe to say that the Egyptian use of color in their art was largely symbolic.

The Egyptian artist had at his disposal six colors, including black and white. These colors were generated largely from mineral compounds and thus retain their vibrancy over the millennia. Each of these colors had their own intrinsic symbolic meaning, as shown below. However, the ambivalence of meaning demonstrated by some should be carefully noted.

The color green (wadj) was the color of vegetation and new life. To do "green things" was slang for beneficial, life-producing behavior. As mentioned above, Osiris was often portrayed with green skin and was also referred to as "the Great Green". Green malachite was a symbol of joy and the land of the blessed dead was described as the "field of malachite." In Chapter 77 of the Book of the Dead, it is said that the deceased will become a falcon "whose wings are of green stone". Highly impractical of course, it is obvious that the color of new life and re-birth is what is important. The Eye of Horus amulet was commonly made of green stone as well.

The pigment green could be produced from a paste manufactured by mixing oxides of copper and iron with silica and calcium. It could also be derived from malachite, a natural copper ore.

Red (desher) was the color of life and of victory. During celebrations, ancient Egyptians would paint their bodies with red ochre and would wear amulets made of cornelian, a deep red stone. Seth, the god who stood at the prow of the sun's barque and slew the serpent Apep daily, had red eyes and hair.

Red was also a symbol of anger and fire. A person who acted "with a red heart" was filled with rage. "To redden" meant "to die". Seth while the god of victory over Apep, was also the evil murderer of his brother Osiris. His red coloration could take on the meaning of evil or victory depending on the context in which he is portrayed. Red was commonly used to symbolize the fiery nature of the radiant sun and serpent amulets representing the "Eye of Re" (the fiery, protective, and possibly malevolent aspect of the sun) were made of red stones.

The normal skin tone of Egyptian men was depicted as red, without any negative connotation.

Red paint was created by Egyptian artisans by using naturally oxidized iron and red ocher.

The color white (hedj and shesep) suggested omnipotence and purity. Due to its lack of color white was also the color of simple and sacred things. The name of the holy city of Memphis meant "White Walls." White sandals were worn at holy ceremonies. The material most commonly used for ritual objects such as small ceremonial bowls and even the embalming table for the Apis Bulls in Memphis was white alabaster. White was also the heraldic color of Upper Egypt. The "Nefer", the crown of Upper Egypt was white, even though originally is was probably made of green reeds.

The pure white color used in Egyptian art was created from chalk and gypsum.

In ancient Egypt, black (kem) was a symbol of death and of the night. Osiris, the king of the afterlife was called "the black one." One of the few real-life people to be deified, Queen Ahmose-Nefertari was the patroness of the necropolis. She was usually portrayed with black skin, although she was not a negro. Anubis, the god of embalming was shown as a black jackal or dog, even though real jackals and dogs are typically brown.

As black symbolized death it was also a natural symbol of the underworld and so also of resurrection. Unexpectedly perhaps, it could also be symbolic of fertility and even life! The association with life and fertility is likely due to the abundance provided by the dark, black silt of the annually flooding Nile. The color of the silt became emblematic of Egypt itself and the country was called "kemet" (the Black Land) by its people from early antiquity.

Black pigments were created from carbon compounds such as soot, ground charcoal or burnt animal bones.

The color yellow (khenet, kenit) was created by the Egyptian artisans using natural ochres or oxides. During the latter part of the new Kingdom, a new method was developed which derived the color using orpiment (arsenic trisulphide).

Both the sun and gold were yellow and shared the qualities of being imperishable, eternal and indestructible. Thus anything portrayed as yellow in Egyptian art generally carried this connotation. The skin and bones of the gods were believed to be made of gold. Thus statues of gods were often made of, or plated with gold. Also, mummy masks and cases of the pharoahs were often made of gold. When the pharoah died he became the new Osiris and a god himself. In the image to the right of the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony, note the skin tones of the mummy and Anubis. Both are divine beings and both have golden skin. Compare this to the priest and the mourning women, who have the classic reddish-brown and pale pink skin tones of humans.

"White gold", an alloy of gold and silver (electrum), was seen as being the equivalent to gold and sometimes white was used in contexts were yellow would typically be used (and vice-versa).

" Egyptian blue " (irtiu, sbedj) was made combining iron and copper oxides with silica and calcium. This produced a rich color however it was unstable and sometimes darkened or changed color over the years.

Blue was symbolic of the sky and of water. In a cosmic sense, this extended its symbolism to the heavens and of the primeval floods. In both of these cases, blue took on a meaning of life and re-birth.

Blue was naturally also a symbol of the Nile and its associated crops, offerings and fertility. The phoenix, which was a symbol of the primeval flood, was patterned on the heron. Herons naturally have a gray-blue plumage. However, they were usually portrayed with bright blue feathers to empha their association with the waters of the creation. Amon was often shown with a blue face to symbolize his role in the creation of the world. By extension, the pharoahs were sometimes shown with blue faces as well when they became identified with Amon. Baboons, which are not naturally blue, were portrayed as blue. It is not certain why. However, the ibis, a blue bird was a symbol of Thoth, just like the baboon was. It may be that the baboons were colored blue to empha their connection to Thoth.

The gods were said to have hair made of lapis lazuli, a blue stone. Note in the image above of the Opening of the Mouth ceremony that the mummy and Anubis both have blue hair.

All content and images © Egyptian Myths, 1997-2014, All Rights Reserved



Comments:

  1. Lawler

    Yes, really. It was and with me.

  2. Moogugal

    Totally agree with her. Great idea, I agree.

  3. Seanlaoch

    It is remarkable, very useful phrase

  4. Diara

    I'm sorry, but I think you are wrong. Let's discuss this. Email me at PM, we'll talk.

  5. Arth

    Will you be able to quickly find such a single sentence?



Write a message