Cochineal Red

The Art History of a Color

Elena Phipps

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October 9, 2012
48 pages, 8 1/2 x 11
75 color + 2 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300195606
Paper

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From antiquity to the present day, color has been embedded with cultural meaning. Associated with blood, fire, fertility, and life force, the color red has always been extremely difficult to achieve and thus highly prized. This book discusses the origin of the red colorant derived from the insect cochineal, its early use in Precolumbian ritual textiles from Mexico and Peru, and the spread of the American dyestuff through cultural interchange following the Spanish discovery and conquest of the New World in the 16th century. Drawing on examples from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, it documents the use of this red-colored treasure in several media and throughout the world.

(This title was originally published in 2010.)

Elena Phipps is senior museum conservator in the Department of Textile Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Interwoven Globe

The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800

Amelia Peck; With contributions by Amy Bogansky, Joyce Denn

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