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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)

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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

 
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Robbie

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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