Blue: The Symbol of Life and RebirthAncient Egyptians associated blue with life and rebirth. They believed that the Nile, which was their source of life, originated from the heavens, and was colored blue. This heavenly association is evident in their art, where blue is used to depict not just the sky but also the god Amun, who was known as the King of the Gods. The Egyptians used blue extensively to decorate temples, tombs, and statues. They made a pigment called Egyptian Blue, which was created by mixing sand, limestone, and copper. This pigment was used to create walls and sculptures that glistened in the sunlight, giving the impression of water flowing through the hollow statues. The color blue was also used to represent the god of the afterlife, Osiris. In hieroglyphics, the color blue was used to symbolize the ‘power’ that Osiris possessed. Furthermore, during mummification, the Egyptians would replace the deceased person’s eyes with blue stones or crystals, so as to create the impression that the person’s eyes were open and could see their way into the afterlife.
Yellow: The Color of Royalty and PowerYellow is arguably the most visually striking color in Egyptian aesthetics, and it is associated with royalty and power. The Egyptians believed that yellow was the color of the sun, which was a symbol of divinity and was worshipped as a god. Therefore, yellow was considered sacred, and only the pharaohs and their close associates were allowed to wear it. It was also used to decorate the pharaoh’s tombs and sarcophagi. The most famous depiction of this is the golden mask of Tutankhamun, which was found in his tomb in 1922.
Red: The Color of Energy and VitalityRed was considered to be the most dynamic color in Egyptian aesthetics. The Egyptians associated it with energy and vitality, which is why it was used extensively in their art and architecture. The color red was used to depict the sun, which they believed was a symbol of eternal life. The god of the sun, Ra, was depicted with a red crown and was worshipped across Egypt. Red was also used in hieroglyphics to represent the heart and the circulatory system. It was believed that during the mummification process, the heart was removed and placed in a jar. This jar was colored red and was placed in the tomb of the deceased person because they believed that it contained the person’s essence and vitality.
White: The Symbol of Purity and CleanlinessIn Ancient Egypt, the color white was considered the symbol of purity, sterility, and cleanliness. The Egyptians used white extensively in their clothing and burial rites. They believed that wearing white clothes would help them purify their bodies before entering the afterlife. The linen used in creating these clothes was manufactured in the Nile Delta and was known for its quality. The Egyptians also used white to represent the goddess Isis, who was considered the Mother of all the Gods. She was the creator of life, and the color white was often used to depict her and her attributes.
Green: The Color of Fertility and GrowthLike most cultures, the Egyptians associated the color green with growth and fertility. The Nile Valley was very fertile, and the Egyptians believed that the river provided them with a bountiful harvest. Therefore, it was no surprise that green was used extensively in their art and decorations. The color was used to represent life, vegetation, and vitality.
- The hieroglyph for life was depicted in green.
- The god Osiris was often represented as a green-skinned deity.
- Green was used to depict the god Horus’ eyes, which were believed to have healing powers.