An Infographic Detailing the Fascinating and Bizarre History of Human Color Production

Mummy Brown and Other Historical Colors

Philadelphia-based artist Korwin Briggs of Veritable Hokum has created a great infographic that details the fascinating and bizarre history of human color production. The chart takes a look at everything from the pigment Mummy brown, made from the ground-up remains of Egyptian mummies, to Gamboge, a color that was made from east Asian tree gum.

First, a note: I considered actually buying, using, and scanning all of these colors, but I didn’t because a good chunk of them are expensive, toxic, and/or no longer exist. What you’re seeing is a digital approximation of paint-blobs-on-paper.

Second, another note: I got a C- in chemistry, and that was only because the teacher was really, really nice. I’ll do my best to faithfully repeat what I’ve read here, but you could replace all instances of “chemistry” with “magic” and I’d hardly know the difference.

image via Veritable Hokum

Thanks Scott Devaney!

Justin Page
Justin Page

I'm a geeky artist/blogger who loves his life, wife, two identical twin girls, family, friends, and job.