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Molly Cule
2826.  Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:41 am Reply with quote

The first known use of ultramarine paint anywhere in the world is on the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan recently destroyed by the Taliban. The two giant Buddhas had auras around their heads painted in ultramarine.

According to locals the giant Buddhas were once painted, one red and one blue. Their eyes were green, maybe emeralds. They had wooden arms that were lifted at times of prayer and sunset.

The blue paint ultramarine (comes from the Latin 'beyond the seas") is made from lapis lazuli, most Lapis used in painting comes from Sar-e-Sang, Afghanistan (it can also be found in Chile, Zambia and Siberia.)

In the 1990's when lapis veins in the mines at Sar-e-Sang began to dry up locals blamed the mujahadeen rule, they said the mines were rebelling against the rule.

The best lapis has a hig suplhur content - yellow makes the blue a shade of violet. The poorest quality is high in calcium carbonate. The very highest quality Afghan lapis is known as 'surpar', meaning 'red feather', the colour of 'the deepest moment of the fire' (according to a local ex-miner in Sar-e-Sang).

To make ultramarine from lapis takes days, the stone is ground, mixed with resin, wax, gum and linseed oil and kneaded for three days. The dough is then put in a bowl of water or wood ash and squeezed, the juice from the first squeeze is the highest quality.

 
Molly Cule
2831.  Fri Dec 05, 2003 8:02 am Reply with quote

The Virgin Mary did not wear blue until the 13th C Italy, when ultramarine arrived as the most expensive dye on the market. From then on blue became a precious religious colour. Today, in the Catholic church the only priest able to wear a blue vestement is a Spanish, Mexican or South American priest on the day of the Festival of the Immaculate Conception.

 
Liebig
3315.  Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:15 am Reply with quote

The world's first synthetic pigment was Egyptian Blue, created by the Assyrians 6000 years ago. We haven't been able to recreate it since the Renaissance. Sir Humphrey Davy was amongst those who have tried. The ingredients have been known, but not the right way to combine them. A paint made by Keith Edwards has been shown, after expert analysis, to be a direct match with surviving examples of Egyptian Blue. He uses six firings to make the paint, which sells at £70 for 10g.
s: IOS 21.09.03

 
Jenny
3358.  Tue Dec 16, 2003 12:10 pm Reply with quote

Why do we say we're feeling 'blue' if we feel sad? The 'blues' were sad songs originally too.

One explanation I've seen - but with no back-up for it - was that blue is a calming colour to have around, and red is a stimulating colour. Just as seeing red alludes to the strong emotions invoked by the color red, feeling blue or getting the blues represents the extremes of the calm feelings associated with blue.

Anybody else got any idea about this?

 
Flash
3665.  Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:17 pm Reply with quote

The ancient Greeks supposedly had no word for "blue", and Gladstone (yes, that Gladstone) suggested that they must have been colour blind to it.

s: "Colour" by Victoria Finlay, Hodder & Stoughton, 2002

 
Flash
3666.  Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:24 pm Reply with quote

All the ultramarine / lapis lazuli in the world comes from the Sar-e-Sang mines (with the possible exception of some Russian icons, the lapis in which may have come from Siberia). This is why it was so expensive (the equivalent of £4 per ounce in 1347). The National Gallery has an unfinished Michelangelo panel, in which the lower R corner seems to have been intended for the figure of the Virgin, which he wasn't able to paint because he couldn't afford the paint.

Azurite was cheaper - about one-twelfth of the price - but it tends towards green and was preferred for painting seas. It was also less stable, so faded quicker than lapis.


Last edited by Flash on Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Flash
3667.  Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:27 pm Reply with quote

The blue used for the Virgin is an iconographical convention only in the western church - in Russian icons she's in red, in Byzantine icons in purple. Pope Pius V standardised liturgical colour coding, including blue for the BVM, in the C16th.

 
Flash
3668.  Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:29 pm Reply with quote

Having said which, there's a piece of cloth in Chartres Cathedral which was given to them by Charles the Bald and which has survived the destruction of the cathedral twice. It's supposed to have been a piece of Mary's veil, and it's a sort of off-white colour.

 
Flash
3669.  Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:31 pm Reply with quote

Prussian blue was invented by accident in 1704 when one Diesbach was trying to make carmine red but contaminated the mixture with iron and made ferrocyanide.

Cobalt didn't reach Europe till the C19th.

 
Flash
3673.  Sat Dec 27, 2003 10:28 am Reply with quote

The production of woad requires the addition of an alkaline ingredient, and the ingredient of choice for this purpose is the urine of a pre-pubescent boy. In the C18th the main source of urine for the whole of the English dyeing industry was Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and this was one of the town's major exports (the others being coal and beer). Newcastle organised an efficient system whereby people were paid for their urine, which was then distributed around the country by ship.

s: "The History of Woad and the Medieval Woad Vat" by John Edmonds

 
Long Haired Hippy
168663.  Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:11 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Why do we say we're feeling 'blue' if we feel sad? The 'blues' were sad songs originally too.

One explanation I've seen - but with no back-up for it - was that blue is a calming colour to have around, and red is a stimulating colour. Just as seeing red alludes to the strong emotions invoked by the color red, feeling blue or getting the blues represents the extremes of the calm feelings associated with blue.

Anybody else got any idea about this?


I was asked this question yesterday and I had no answer. I was pretty sure it would crop up on this Forum but I'm a little dissapointed that there's not a more full answer here.

According to Wikipedia the phrase is a reference to "having a fit of the blue devils" which is a phrase that can be traced back at least to 1798 in Gearge Colmans farce "Blue Devils, a farce in one act" searching further for "Blue Devils" is hampered somewhat by the frequency of it's use as a sporting nickname for teams and mascots as well as planes and indeed of a blues band.

I'm reminded of the Blue Meanies from Yellow Submarine.

Can anybody else shed some more light?

 
costean
168677.  Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:13 am Reply with quote

The association of the Devil and the colour blue comes from the phrase ‘to burn blue’ in which the weak blue flame of a dying candle was taken as an omen of death or indicating the presence of ghosts or even Old Nick himself (perhaps referring to the blue flame of brimstone).

Quote:
1594 SHAKES. Rich. III, V. iii. 180 The Lights burne blew! It is now dead midnight.
1601 Jul. C. I. iii. 50 The crosse blew Lightning.
1611 BEAUM. & FL. Knt. Burn. Pestle,
Ribands black and candles blue
For him that was of men most true.
1649 BP. REYNOLDS Serm. Hosea i. 54 In a mine, if a damp come, it is in vaine to trust to your lights, they will burn blew, and dimme, and at last vanish.
1726 DE FOE Hist. Devil x, That most wise and solid suggestion, that when the candles burn blue the Devil is in the room.
1824 BYRON Juan XVI. xxvi, His taper Burnt, and not blue, as modest tapers use..Receiving sprites.

S: OED

The first citation of the phrase ‘blue Devil’ dates back to 1616.

Quote:
1616 R. C. Times' Whistle vii. 3443 Alston, whose life hath been accounted evill, And therfore calde by many the blew devill.

ibid

The blue devils (or pink spiders – take your pick) are also a name given to the apparitions (delirium tremens) seen by the inordinately bibulous during the shaky periods (Saturday mornings).

 
iknowbetter
192126.  Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:24 pm Reply with quote

stephen is wrong in this series with the episode about colours, as there is a welsh for blue and its glas. pronounced glarss.
please check google or any welsh people you know and you'll find this to be true.
As I have checked both and found this to be the case.

 
samivel
192127.  Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:27 pm Reply with quote

If you check the search engine for this site you will see that this has already been pointed out several times.

 
AlmondFacialBar
192128.  Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:43 pm Reply with quote

iknowbetter wrote:
stephen is wrong in this series with the episode about colours, as there is a welsh for blue and its glas. pronounced glarss.
please check google or any welsh people you know and you'll find this to be true.
As I have checked both and found this to be the case.


that's weird, though. in breton "glas" means green, like in scots gaelic and irish.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 

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