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Rare Use of Blue Pigment Found in Ancient Mummy Portraits

Northwestern-Hearst Museum of Anthropology collaboration, using the instruments of the NUANCE Center, reveals hidden color.

blue pigment

(Credit: Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley)

Mostly untouched for 100 years, 15 Roman-era Egyptian mummy portraits and panel paintings were literally dusted off by scientists and art conservators from Northwestern University and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology as they set out to investigate the materials the painters used nearly 2,000 years ago.

What the researchers discovered surprised them...

by Megan Fellman (Senior Editor, Northwestern News)