NotesCinnabar was difficult to mine and was expensive. This led to a synthetic type of vermilion pigment produced with Mercury and sulfur as early as the 9th century. The quality of this pigment increased with grinding. Florentine artist Cennino Cennini claimed "if you were to grind it every day for twenty years it would keep getting better and more perfect."Vermilion pigment was also produced with Cadmium, another toxic heavy metal.
A brilliant orangish red.
Also Known As
Due to its long history of use, vermilion color has a large number of associations:Associated with luxury as early as ancient Rome.The ink of official letters and decrees and official seals starting with the Byzantine Empire. The Chinese reserved vermilion ink and seals for the exclusive use of the Emperor.Ceremonial use by the indigenous peoples of North and South America.European art mostly used cinnabar pigment for red until the 8th century. This was replaced by cadmium red that is slightly darker red than vermilion.Vermilion is an important color in Chinese culture associated with Taoism, life, luck, fine lacquerware and history such as the Emperors of China.The ancient Chinese viewed vermilion as the color of blood.In Chinese mythology the direction south is represented by a bird known as the Vermilion Bird. Viewed as an auspicious color in Japanese Shinto religion. Shinto shrines are typically wood painted a vermilion color.Hindus use a vermilion cosmetic powder on their forehead during religious ceremonies and festivals. Hindu women traditionally use vermilion powder along the part of their hair to signify that they are married.