The vibrant colour palette of early human existence

The Profound Influence of Colour on Early Human Life

The effects of colour on the lives of early human beings were of immense significance, shaping their existence governed by the ebb and flow of light and darkness. Enlivened by the vivid hues of bright reds, oranges, and yellows during daylight, they found solace and rejuvenation in the calming tones of blues, indigos, and violets that characterized the night. For the ancients, every hue in sunlight represented a distinct aspect of the divine, influencing various qualities of life. Colour emerged as a pivotal feature in the symbolism of ancient cultures globally. The roots of healing with colour in Western civilization can be traced back to the mythologies of ancient Egypt and Greece.

Healing with Colour in Ancient Egyptian Mythology

In ancient Egyptian mythology, the foundations of healing with colour were laid by the revered God Thoth. Known to the Ancient Greeks as Hermes Trismegistus, translating to ‘Hermes thrice-greatest,’ Thoth was credited not only with mysticism and magic but also teachings that encompassed the use of colour in healing. The Hermetic tradition embraced by Ancient Egyptians and Greeks incorporated a diverse palette of colored minerals, stones, crystals, salves, and dyes as remedies. Treatment sanctuaries were adorned in an array of hues, drawing a profound connection between colour and the art of healing.

Primitive Palette: Life Symbolism in Cave Drawings

Cave drawings found across the globe depict animals coexisting with early humans, offering a captivating glimpse into their lives. Dating back ten thousand years, these drawings showcased an advanced understanding of art by early man. Mineral pigments were used to paint these, and they lasted throughout the centuries due to the constant temperature and humidity of the limestone caves where they were found. The making of these pigments was an advanced art for early man. The colours used were mostly browns, reds, and blacks, which were made of natural clays and burnt charcoal. Everything in life was coloured, and the man tried to symbolise and copy it. Identification was made by the sun, the skies, the earth, the stars, and the rainbow. The man looked upon these symbols and copied them. Simple colours seemed to go with the primitive art.

Textile Transformation: Aniline Dye Stuffs and Colour Language

The introduction of aniline dye stuffs to the Indians of the southwestern United States marked a transformative chapter in textiles. Witnessing a burst of vibrant hues, from peacock blues to gaudy magentas and sulphur yellows, their textiles became a canvas for the language of colour. Recognizing that every hue holds a definite significance, colour became a symbolic language, although as Darwin noted, unraveling the meanings attached to the colors of early man remains a challenge.