Ochre: The Oldest Paint Color in the World
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
In October of 2011 archaelogists found a 100,000 year old paint studio with remnants of paint and tools. The study was led by researcher Christopher Henshilwood, an archaeologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He and researchers found pieces of ochre, or colored clay, etched with abstract designs on a seashell fragment.
The cave was found 186 miles east of Cape Town in a seaside cave. It is now called Blombos Cave.
The pre-historic mixture was made by using ochre and charcoal mixed with heated, crushed boan and water to make it spreadable. Researchers believe the paint was mixed in the seashells and stirred with a slim 2-inch piece of bone, because red residue was found on the seashel and on one end of the bone.
What can we as modern painters, homeowners and businesses take away from the ancient paint color and technique? First of all, ochre, as perhaps the oldest paint color on Earth, still looks great! And if someone wants a very earthy, natural aesthetic for the house, consider ochre as the dominant color, even if only for a single room. Though the ochre painting above was found in South Africa, it also has a very Southwestern United States or Native American look.
If it was good enough for the ancients, it's certainly good enough for us.
Tags used in this post: ancient paintings, ochre color, ochre oldest paint in the world, oldest paint, oldest paint in the world, oldest painting surface, 100,000 paint studio, 100,000 paint supplies, 100,000 paints