In many cultures, red symbolizes joy and good fortune. In fact, in many Asian countries brides wear red as a symbol of fertility and luck. In Europe, red became equated with aristocrats and the clergy. Its association with the blood of Christ made it especially important for the Catholic church, so much so that the cardinal was named after the color that Roman Catholic cardinals traditionally wore.
One of the oldest forms of red comes from clay given a red hue by the mineral hematite. In fact, evidence has been found that people in the Late Stone Age were grinding red ochre to paint their bodies. Red, along with white and black, was one of the only colors used by artists in the Paleolithic age because it was easily obtainable in nature. The prehistoric cave paintings in Altamira, Spain, which date between 15000 and 16500 BC are early examples of paintings with red ochre.
Red was also prominent in ancient China, with early examples of black and red pottery dating between 5000 and 3000 BC. Traces of red ochre were even found on a painter’s palette inside the tomb of King Tut in Egypt.
Image : A bison from the cave of Altamira in Spain, painted between 15,000 and 16.500 BC.(Photo: National Museum and Research Center of Altamira [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
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