Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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Forbes pigment collection. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Great Big Story.

Forbes Pigment Collection: The World's Rarest and Most Ancient Colors (Video)


Amid the vast palette of colors that grace our world, some hues have more intriguing origins than others. Nestled within Harvard University lies the Forbes pigment collection, a treasury of approximately 2,500 pigments, each with a story as unique as its hue. From the vibrant dragon's blood, derived not from mythical creatures but rattan palms, to the exotic mummy pigment sourced from Egyptian mummies' resin-coated bandages, the collection is a testament to the diverse sources of color. One standout is the Indian yellow, crafted from the dried urine of mango leaf-fed cows.

These pigments aren't just about aesthetics; they hold secrets that unravel the authenticity of artworks, guiding experts in distinguishing originality from restoration. However, these pigments aren't without hazards; some are toxic, like arsenic-laden emerald green. Thus, this color repository serves as a silent witness to the passage of time, helping unveil the truth hidden within the strokes of artistry.

Top image: Forbes pigment collection. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Great Big Story.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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