Yellow, a Colour of Spring by Zahra Hassan

All Types of Yellow Colour Pigments used by artists for centuries

A Story of a Musician, illustration by Zahra (Fatima Zahra Hassan) from Kingdom of Joy – Stories of Rumi
A student’s work, School of Miniature Painting, Image by @FZH
Yellow Ochre Powder – Earth Pigment (image:Wikipedia)

Yellow Ochre – (In Urdu and Farsi it is known as Zard, the Hindi name is Ramraj) – an iron oxide, it is usually found in the form of a coloured earth and is washed and finely ground and mixed with a binding medium.

Indian yellow, historical dye collection of the Technical University of Dresden, Germany

Indian Yellow – (Indian name is Peuri or Gagoli) – it is said that this colour is made from the urine of cows fed on mangoes or mango leaves to produced a very bright and vivid yellow colour. Recent test have proved that this is only a tale of folklore. However due to this take it was not used in Islamic manuscripts dealing with sacred themes. Other references indicate that is a yellow earth found in India. This pigment is not commonly used due to its obscure source.

Bright golden-yellow streak colour of orpiment

Orpiment – A brilliant yellow made from sulphide of arsennic which is dangerous to use. This stone is ground, washed and mixed with grum arabic.

Saffron Flower

Saffron Yellow – The most common yellow colour used in the Indian subcontinent. The saffron is boiled or soaked in water to give the liquid colour. The period of soaking the saffron depends on the intensity of the colour required. This solution does not need to be mixed with Gum Arabic or other binding medium .This solution is translucent; however, if mixed with a white colour becomes opaque but loses its original intensity.

Turmeric Roots and Powder

Turmeric Yellow – This yellow is obtained by boiling the turmeric in water until it gives it the required colour, it is then filtered and some saffron is added and boiled again. This is filtered again and gall nut and Gum Arabic is added to the mixture before it cools down.

Text by Fatima Zahra Hassan

Extract from her PhD thesis, 1997, copyright @fzhassan & @fzhatelier

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