Teh first paints were made by combining naturally pigmented materials (found in minerals, vegetables, and occassionally animals) with oils that were either derived from plants or from milk. To list a few possible combinations:
The earliest paints were available in only a limited range of colors (blacks, browns, whites, and rusty reds) because they came from iron oxides readily available in earthen topsoils.
Ancient Egypt discovered how to extract other types of mineral pigments from different, mineable rocks. This introduced blies, yellows, oranges, and reds to the painting game.
Rome contributed by discovering how to yield purple pigment by crushing the shells of mollusks (a pound of pigment required crushing four million mollusk shells, making purple an extremely expensive, royal color).
The Aztecs first created bright vermillions by crushing the shells of femal cochineal beetles, and east Indians at around the same time developed Indian Yellow by mixing concentrating cow urine with mud and refining the result.
Europeans discovered sepia brown after drying, powdering, and making soluable sacs of squid ink, and also created gorgeous sap green paints by crushing the Blackthorn plant’s small berries.
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