Is Mummy brown made from real mummies?

There was a dark brown color that artists commonly used called Mummy brown. It was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries and was made from a mixture of myrrh, incense, and the remains of Egyptian and Gunache (from the Canary Islands) mummies and mummified cats. Painted these centuries preferred this brown because of its significant usage of shadows, flesh tones, and shading. Unfortunately, there was such a high demand for mummy brown that Egyptian and Gunache mummies would run out and use recently dead bodies of slaves and criminals.

The fascination with this color began to die around the 19th century when artists started to learn what this color was made from. Then by the 20th century, the production of this color almost became non-existent due to the low supply of mummies.

This painting by Martin Drolling called “Interior of the Kitchen” (1815) is one of many examples of the color mummy brown being used.

Fast forward to this century, the color mummy brown is still being used. However, it is made from various ingredients like quartz., and hematite and not from actual bodies.

Have you heard of any other colors made with weird ingredients? If so comment below!

Until next time!!!


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