Brown Paint Made from Mummies.

The Manufacturer and Builder 7, 1877

Very few persons know that one of the finest brown paints is made of Egyptian mummies, ground up in oil or mucilage. This paint was formerly much more used than at present, and is described in all old books on painting. The Egyptian embalming process consisted in impregnating the bodies of the dead with asphaltum, and this in the course of ages has combined so intimately with the fibrous tissue of the flesh and with the bones, that a uniform mass has resulted of such a peculiar brown tone that some painters prize it very highly, and can make it available for certain purposes. "Mummy" used to be always on the list of paints used by the old school, and to this may be added that the form of asphaltum as combined in mummies is adapted to water-colors, while unmummified asphaltum is not.

One thing is certain, that the old Egyptians, when they put away their dead, wrapped in clothes saturated with asphaltum, could never have realized the fact that ages after they had been laid in the tombs and pyramids along the Nile, their dust would be used in painting pictures in a world then undiscovered, and by artists whose languages were then unknown. Perhaps a portion of one of the Pharaohs, or a Potiphar, or even of the historic Mrs. Potiphar, may even now be on the canvas of a Vernet, a Millais, or a Church.

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