We covered far more than just the colour blue; we looked at the colours that were available to the Ancient Egyptians, the symbolism they held for them, and the reasons why. I learned about ‘Grue’ – those colours which span the blue/green spectrum. I knew that blue and green were important colours to the ancient Egyptians; and now I understand why this was so. We looked at faience and glass making; we ‘felt blue’ via the Amarna Letters, and finally, we investigated the ushabi and other various artefacts.
Colours were not simply seen as we see them; for example the term for the colour green can also be used to mean ‘freshness’ – therefore, the word for green, could be used to mean fresh meat, whereas we would think of green meat as anything but fresh!
Green was a symbol of life and growth, and black was a symbol of the potential for life. Red was associated with the desert – with dryness, aridity, the absence of life, the absence of the potential of life, so red could have rather negative connotations!
These are but a few of the fascinating insights of this course – and if you wish to learn more, just go the the Manchester Museum website (link above).
Colourfully yours, Jan