Have You Ever Held Vermillion?
Have you ever used real vermillion? Even holding the tube, its unexpected weight, takes the breath away.
Made by grinding a powder of cinnabar. It must be the mercury that makes it so heavy. Or the gorgeousness.
Mining cinnabar is difficult, expensive and dangerous
The first documented use of vermilion pigment, made with ground cinnabar dates as far back as 8000–7000 BC.
It was found at the neolithic village of Catalhoyuk, now Turkey. Cinnabar was mined in Spain beginning in about 5300 BC.
The Yangshao culture in China used it from 5000–4000 BC, where it was used for ritual ceremonies, to paint ceramics, to cover the walls and floors of rooms.
It’s so beautiful to use. A brilliant red that makes my knees tremble. But not quite as hot as Cadmium. Titanium white demolishes it into a coral. But Lead White, that’s another matter altogether.