Illustration of Cosmetic pigment

4400-3100 BCE Cosmetic pigment

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Prehistoric Egyptians archaeology Illustration of Cosmetic pigment

Cosmetic pigment

Green malachite, 4400-4000 BCE They used palettes of siltstone applying prepared pigments to paint their faces. Green from ground malachite, the color of fertility and resurrection. Their eternal paradise was the Field of Malachite; this was the realm of Osiris, the god with green skin. Cinnabar, 4000-3100 BCE Red for the blood of Isis, red for the fire and anger of Set, red for the firey aspect of Sekhmet. Hematite, red jaspar, carnelian, cinnabar would be ground to rouge their lips and cheeks. How soon did they know the mercury in cinnabar was toxic? Antimony, 3100 BCE They made a powder of stibnite, adding things like ochre, malachite, burnt almonds, used it to paint around their eyes. From paintings on the walls of tombs the eyes grab our attention. Eye liner, eye shadow, almond eyes.

Cosmetics with pigments

Face painting for warriors and children Lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, rouge, blush modeled by women who don’t need it to look beautiful Hair dye, nail polish expressions of individuality Henna, genipapo, tattoo, body painting can express tradition, individuality, artistic freedom or serve as an insect repellent Mime, clown, blackface, stage makeup, cosplay much of our lives is fantasy anyway Military camouflage face paints, eye black for athletes can save a life, or like any superstition, act as an insurance policy against the fates.

Natural canvas

Any natural thing with a power to move people can be used for selfish and destructive purposes. If people are not manipulating their environment, they are at least being manipulated by manipulated environments. Who doesn’t appreciate grace and beauty? Who wouldn’t be willing to borrow a fallen feather, or hang precious stones from neck or earlobes, or paint a beauty mark to the right of the nose? Isn’t cosmetics a form of artistic expression whose canvas is an innocent as a smile?

Yes, using makeup is an art; however, I grew up in a time when natural looks were more appreciated, when a singer-songwriter didn’t need to sing with a beautiful voice, and could record without a lot of work in the studio. Authenticity and sincerity provide good references for the wandering soul.

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia:

Other readings: