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The Egyptian Color Code

By Anita Stratos

If you walked into an Egyptian museum exhibit today, what would you see? You’d probably marvel at the beauty of the handwork and skills that created such intricate pieces of jewelry. You’d carefully inspect the painting and carvings on various objects such as amulets and pottery. And you’d be impressed with the richness of color throughout it all. But even with all you may know about Egyptian history, you’d only be getting half the story if you don’t know how to “read” the color code.

Deciphering Egyptian codes, from hieroglyphs to the meanings of amulets, is key in completely understanding the messages left behind by ancient Egyptians. Symbolism was everywhere, and almost everything they created had a deeper meaning, including the gemstone colors of the jewelry they wore, the colors used in tomb reliefs, and the materials used to make amulets. Colors were very important, because the Egyptians believed that not only did colors revealed the true essence of a person or a thing, but they also could provide them with protection or other magical properties. So just what were these complex ancient people trying to say?

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