Color Meanings

The History of Egypt for Kids - Color Meanings

The Civilization & Culture of Ancient Egypt and facts about the Color Meanings

Ancient Egyptians and their Color Meanings
A comprehensive guide and fact sheet about Color Meanings and the significance of colors  in ancient Egypt. Discover fascinating facts and information about ancient Egypt and Color Meanings and significance.

The meanings of the different colors used by the ancient Egyptians

Color meanings in Ancient Egyptian Art

Meanings of precious and semi-precious gemstones

Color meanings in ancient Egypt

The meanings and significance of the six basic colors used by the ancient Egyptians 

The basic colors were white, black, red, yellow, blue and green

An overview of the meanings and significance of different colors used in ancient Egyptian art, jewelry and artefacts

Ancient Egyptians - Color Meanings
Click a link for additional information and interesting facts about subjects relating to Color Meanings or other aspects of daily life, the people and places of ancient Egypt.

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Egyptian Art & Architecture

The Color Meanings of Ancient Egypt
The Color Meanings used in creating the art, hieroglyphics, talismans, amulets, jewelry, monuments and artefacts of ancient Egypt were extremely important and conveyed a range of silent messages to the ancient Egyptians.

Color Meanings - The Six Basic Colors (white, black, red, yellow, blue and green)
The ancient Egyptians used six basic colors in varying shades of white, black, red, yellow, blue and green. All of the colors had specific meaning and significance and the color meanings were accompanied by the numerous symbols that were also used by the ancient Egyptians conveying ideas and elements for ancient Egyptian mythology and legends. The following links provide comprehensive facts and information about the meaning of each of the colors and their symbolism and significance to the ancient Egyptians.

Red (desher). Meanings and Symbolism of Red.

Yellow (kenit and khenet). Meanings and Symbolism of Yellow.

Blue (khesbedj and irtiu). Meanings and Symbolism of Blue.

Green (wadj). Meanings and Symbolism of Green.

Black (khem or kem). Meanings and Symbolism of Black.

White (shesep and hedj). Meanings and Symbolism of White.

Some other colors were occasionally used such as brown, grey, orange and pink but as only secondary colors. These secondary colors were formed by adding and mixing white or black to the primary colours. The different shades of the colors are shown on the following chart.
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

Color Meanings of Ancient Egypt
The colors were not chosen randomly, each of the colors had special meanings, symbolism and significance. Artists were tutored by their master and this continued from one generation to the next. The colors and their meanings remained the same for over three thousand years and only some shades of colors were added during the time period known as the New Kingdom(1550 to 1070 B.C.) with the advent of new technology in relation to fixing dyes and pigments.

Color Meanings of Ancient Egypt - Skin Colors
One example of the consistency of the colors and the color meanings used in ancient Egyptian art are those that are used to depict males and females.

Did you know that ancient Egyptian men were traditionally painted with a dark red-brown skin color that represented the mainly outdoor life and pursuits of the ancient Egyptian man? The body of a woman was painted in a lighter, yellow-brown colors reflecting the more secluded, indoor lifestyle of a woman. These same color meanings and conventions of men and women can be seen in numerous examples ancient Egyptian art. A small item of trivia, but useful when looking at tomb and temple paintings.

Color Meanings - Precious and Semi-Precious Stones
The different colors of precious and semi-precious stones were used for statues, magical amulets, talismans, jewelry and furniture inlays. The precious and semi-precious stones were also used to convey color meanings included emeralds, carnelians, amethysts, feldspar or quartz, peridots, pearl, chalcedony, malachite, jasper, lapis lazuli, tiger's eye, turquoise and faience glass stones. 

Color Meanings of Ancient Egypt - Color Meanings chart
The following color meanings chart provides a fast overview of the color meanings of the ancient Egyptians.

Color Meanings Chart

Colors - Color Meanings & Symbolism - Precious & Semi-Precious Stones

   

Blue - Sky, Water, the Heavens, Primeval Flood, Creation and Rebirth - Lapis lazuli, Blue glass (faience) and Turquoise.

Red - Life, Fire, Victory, Anger, Hostility and Chaos - Red Jasper, Carnelian, Rose quartz and Garnet

Yellow - Imperishable, Eternal and Indestructible. - Citrine, Amber, Tiger's eye, Heliodor and Jasper

Green - Fertility, Vegetation, New life, Joy, Growth and Regeneration - Jade,   Turquoise, Peridot, Green feldspar, Serpentine, Beryl and Green quartz

Black - Death, Night, Endurance, Stability - Onyx, Ebony, Obsidian, Hematite, Basalt and Amethyst

White - Purity, Power, Cleanliness and Simplicity. - Pearls, Mother-of-pearl, Chalcedony and Milky Quartz.

Ancient Egyptian Blue Color Meanings
The ancient Egyptian concept of blue color meanings covered all shades of the color. The blue colors of Ancient Egypt were Egyptian Blue, Azurite, Lapis Lazuli and Indigo. Blue Meanings: To the ancient Egyptians the color blue symbolized the Sky, Water, the Heavens, Primeval Flood, Creation and Rebirth. The color blue is also associated with birth and rebirth because the annual inundation (flooding) of the River Nile brought fertility to the land. River gods such as Hapi were depicted with blue skin. Blue was often paired with gold in Egyptian royal regalia and jewelry such as the crook and flail, the royal symbols of authority.

Blue Colors of Ancient Egypt

   

Egyptian Blue

Egyptian Blue 2

Azurite

Lapis Lazuli

Indigo

Ancient Egyptian Red Color Meanings
The ancient Egyptian concept of red covered all shades of the color. The red colors of Ancient Egypt were Red Lead, Red Ochre, Madder lake and Kermes (Carmine) lake. Red Meanings: To the ancient Egyptians the color red symbolized life, fire and victory and was also used to convey anger, hostility and chaos. The color red was deemed to be a powerful color  because of its association with blood. The jasper stone symbolized the goddess Isis and was used to make the magic amulet or talisman called the Knot of Isis. The color red invoked the protective power of the blood of Isis. The symbolic scarab Talisman and Amuletsoften featured red stones and was placed in the heart cavity of mummies as a form of protection.

Red Colors of Ancient Egypt

   

Red Lead

Red Ochre

Madder

Carmine

Ancient Egyptian Green Color Meanings
The ancient Egyptian concept of green covered all shades of the color. The Egyptian name for green was 'wadj' which also meant "to flourish". The green colors of Ancient Egypt were Malachite, Verdigris, Chryscolla and Turquoise. Green Color Meanings: To the ancient Egyptians the color green symbolized Fertlity, Vegetation, New life, Joy, Growth and Regeneration. The papyrus plant symbolized fresh vegetation, vigor and regeneration to the ancient Egyptians. In ancient Egyptian papyrus lucky days were written in green ink. The green Feldspar stone was a symbol of fertility and was popular with the ancient Egyptians as it was believed to bring good luck to the wearer.

Green Colors of Ancient Egypt

   

Malachite

Verdigris

Chryscolla

Turquoise

Ancient Egyptian Yellow Color Meanings
The ancient Egyptian concept of yellow covered all shades of the color. The yellow colors of Ancient Egypt were Orpiment, Lead Antimonite, Yellow Ochre, Ochre, Realgar and Gold. Yellow Color Meanings: To the ancient Egyptians the color yellow symbolized items that were Imperishable, eternal and indestructible. Any objects portrayed as yellow in ancient Egyptian art carried all of these meanings. Gold represented the flesh of the gods. Amber symbolized the sun and a protective amulet with the meanings of power of strength and harmony.

Yellow Colors of Ancient Egypt

   

Orpiment

Lead Antimonite

Yellow Ochre

Ochre

Realgar

Gold

Ancient Egyptian Black Color Meanings
The ancient Egyptian concept of black covered different shades of the color. The Black colors of Ancient Egypt were ivory black and lamp black. Black Color Meanings: To the ancient Egyptians the color black symbolized death, the night and the Afterlife, endurance and stability. The jackal-headed Anubis the god of the dead, tombs and embalming was depicted with a black head reflecting the meaning of death. Black was also associated with fertility and regeneration of the land.

Black & White Colors of Ancient Egypt

   

Chalk White

Lead White

Silver

Ivory Black

Lamp Black

Ancient Egyptian White Color Meanings
The ancient Egyptian concept of white covered different shades of the color including the different shades of grey. The white colors of Ancient Egypt were chalk white, lead white and silver. White Color Meanings: To the ancient Egyptians the color white symbolized Purity, Power, Cleanliness and Simplicity. The clothing of the priests was predominantly white symbolizing purity, even their sandals were white. Pearls were symbolic of purity and innocence and were once believed to be the tears of gods. The color white was also a symbol of Upper Egypt.

The Color Meanings of Ancient Egypt
Discover fast, interesting fun facts about Color Meanings for kids with some amazing, cool and quick information about ancient Egypt and Egyptians. Ideal for children, homework, schools, teachers and kids of all ages! Find fascinating fun facts about Color Meanings for kids and the history, culture and civilisation of the ancient Egyptians and ancient Egypt. Interesting, fun facts about Color Meanings for research, schools, students and kids of all ages.

Egyptian Color Meanings

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