DAY 11 11 September 2018
Crimson is a very old colour. Jars of Kermes have been found in Neolithic cave-burials and throughout the ancient Mediterranean Middle East where the Kermes Oak is indigenous.
The word "kermes" is derived from the Sanskrit krmi-ja (worm+beget), Persian 'qirmiz’ or Spanish ‘carmes’(carmine’).
The dye is prepared from the dried bodies of pregnant females scale insects (Kermes echinatus).
By the European Middle Ages, crimson cloth dyed with kermes exceeded the prestige of Tyrian Purple “in status and desirability” in the silk-weaving centers of Italy and Spain. Crimson became the colour of kings, cardinals and popes.
Following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire (1519–21) Mexican cochineal, which produces a more intense red dye replaced kermes in Europe.