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#106998 - 07/04/03 02:07 AM Miniature
maahey Offline
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Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 555
The history of this word might be old hat to many of you, but, I recently learnt it and we don't seem to have discussed it before, so, here goes....

The word miniature comes from minium, which is red lead. Minium was commonly used as a red pigment in Indian and Persian art in the 13th and 14th centuries (and probably even later). 'Miniature' took root in this art form that specialised in drawing/painting detailed images on a very small scale, primarily because they were used to illustrate books!


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#106999 - 07/04/03 07:34 AM Re: Miniature
of troy Offline
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Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
we have touched on this before ..

in christianity, the same red ink (and style!) was used to head scripture for holy days, which evolved into holidays, and the red heading from the scripture, gave us a red letter day as a special day.

back when i was doing my red theme of the week, DXB gave us carmine:
Another word for red with similar origins is carmine:

NOUN: 1. A strong to vivid red. 2. A crimson pigment derived from cochineal.
ADJECTIVE: Strong to vivid red.
ETYMOLOGY: French carmin, from Medieval Latin carminium, probably blend of Arabic qirmiz, kermes; see kermes, and Latin minium, cinnabar.

(from
http://wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=miscellany&Number=105264

i suspect though, that the persians didn't use the Latin word minimum for the dye/pigment, but if you have a link between cinnibar( arabic for mercuric oxide) and minimun (latin for the same!) i would love to learn about it. crimson, scarlet, well as carmine share Kermes as an roots, (and kermes,goes back to verm, IE for insect/crawly thing.. that gives us many words! (worm & vermin come to mind!)

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#107000 - 07/04/03 08:08 AM Re: Miniature
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Registered: 06/24/02
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Loc: Vermont
sorry, a tangent from minium/red:

why "car" for an automobile? is it simply short for carriage?

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#107001 - 07/04/03 09:30 AM Re: Miniature
Faldage Offline
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why "car" for an automobile

AHD has no carriage in the mix. It's from Latin carrus, ultimately from Gaulish carrum:

http://www.bartleby.com/61/48/C0094800.html


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#107002 - 07/04/03 09:35 AM Re: Miniature
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Registered: 06/24/02
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Loc: Vermont
ah, cart. thanks, Fald.

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#107003 - 07/04/03 10:51 AM Re: Miniature
of troy Offline
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the word red is related to color, (and in spanish is a bit closer, with colorado being 'red river') but the word color retains the meaning of blush (to color) -to have one skin take on a red color.

long time past, there was a thread on colors, and color names/groups..

English is rich in color names; lilac is a very different color than heliatrope, or lavender, or iris, or periwinkle.. but in some languages all those colors would just be blue, not even purple!

and our ways of grouping colors, is part of our scientific way of thinking about them... in some languages/schemes, yellow, red, coral orange and turquoise are group.. (makes some sense till you hit turquoise, right? but that grouping is found on local bird, and they have group name..

a humans can see the same shades/tones/groups of colors (except people-mostly men- who are 'color blind'... but color blindness is found in all races/ethnic groups) but not all languages have names for all colors.. or the same groupings.

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#107004 - 07/06/03 02:07 PM Re: Miniature
maahey Offline
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Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 555
Was sure you would like this, Helen. I enjoyed your posts on colour, but read them too late to contribute. I do have a couple of comments on your queries.

Minium and Cinnabar are two different chemical compounds. Minium is Red Lead or Lead oxide and is made by heating White lead, which in turn, is the whitre substance that collects on lead shavings when immersed in vinegar. This is not a mineral.
Cinnabar is Mercuric sulphide. This is a mineral and the Almaden mines in Spain are famed for this.

but if you have a link between cinnibar( arabic for mercuric oxide) and minimun
I don't know from which eaxt period, minium was used as a pigment, but, Almaden Cinnabar has been mined even in the classical world.
Though separate compounds, the Almaden ore has been called both, Cinnabar and Minium. The former, as you pointed out, has the Arab (from the Persian) root, probably contributed by the medieval occupation of Spain by the Arabs. There is a Basque word for Cinnabar, arminea(there is an accent there somewhere), and the Latin, minium, might have this as a root.

Coming back to miniatures, such paintings date from ad 3rd/4th century, and were then called 'historia'. The Elizabethans called them, 'limnings'. The red pigment minium that was used for both the paintings and the text in what were then called, 'illuminated manuscripts', and an etymological confusion with 'minute', resulted in small sized paintings being termed, miniatures!

I got a lot of information on the fascinating subject of colour, from a book by Victoria Finlay. I have read a couple of other books on the subject that are somewhat more detailed, but this one is not as pedantic and is also a bit like a travelogue.


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#107005 - 07/06/03 04:31 PM Re: Miniature
of troy Offline
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Thanks maahey, i had seen both reds (minium, and cinnibar)being listed as mercury compounds, and then again sometimes listed as lead and mercury compounds. it never was clearly explained which was which, (but then i was looking in dictionaries, not chemistry books!)

Color is fascinating-- in an other thread, we touched on chrome, and how its name is from all the different colors its salt and compounds from.. (red, yellow and green are the most notable.)

Its kind of interesting, sometimes, today we know so much more about new technology, but which of us could make ink or paint or knows how to make and dye fabric. Our technology is so advanced and it's often cheaper to get things ready made, that we don't know how to do many of the chores our great grandparents had to do.

One interesting hobby that many of the knitting sites i visit refer to, is home dyeing wool. but the dyes are all from KoolAde (an artifically colored and flavored water based drink) Most of the colors in koolade are various coaltar derivities, and the 'flavor' is acedic acid. the acid acts a mordant, and the coal tar dyes color the wool! the wool is heated in a micro wave to get it good and hot, with out any agitation, as you might find in a pot of boiling water. Old chemistry put to new uses!



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#107006 - 07/07/03 02:13 AM New colour word
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
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From Edwin A. Abbott's "Flatland", written in 1884.

The sight of a line of battle of twenty thousand Isosceles suddenly facing about, and exchanging the sombre black of their bases for the orange of the two sides including their acute angle; the militia of the Equilateral Triangles tricoloured in red, white, and blue; the mauve, ultra-marine, gamboge, and burnt umber of the Square artillerymen rapidly rotating near their vermillion guns; the dashing and flashing of the five-coloured and six-coloured Pentagons and Hexagons careering across the field in their offices of surgeons, geometricians and aides-de-camp -- all these may well have been sufficient to render credible the famous story how an illustrious Circle, overcome by the artistic beauty of the forces under his command, threw aside his marshal's baton and his royal crown, exclaiming that he henceforth exchanged them for the artist's pencil.

An online edition can be found at: http://www.alcyone.com/max/lit/flatland/8.html

Gamboge is new to me. Apparently it's a kind of yellow.
The AHD gives the new Latin gambogium or cambugium = Cambodia, as the source.http://www.bartleby.com/61/80/G0028000.html

Bingley
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#107007 - 07/07/03 05:41 AM Re: New colour word
maahey Offline
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Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 555
Gamboge is a gum resin that is collected much like rubber. Unlike rubber though, the resin is collected almost an entire year after the slashes are made in the trunk. It is extremely expensive and as far as I know, comes from both Cambodia and Vietnam, though it is named for the former. I remember reading a post sometime back in which you mentioned Mangosteen, Mr.B. The Gamboge tree is related to the Mangosteen. The dried resin is dirty brown in colour but when mixed in water, it turns into a brilliant, almost fluourescent, yellow. Gamboge is a natural purgative and diuretic too

There is another form of yellow, Orpiment. This is a mineral; I cannot remember the chemical compound but it has arsenic and is therefore rarely used. There is a rare, exotic and ceremonial fabric (or is it a costume) in Indonesia, that is dyed almost exclusively with Orpiment. Do you know more about this?


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#107008 - 07/07/03 07:15 AM Re: New colour word
of troy Offline
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Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
I didn't know arsenic could also be used to make yellow pigments.

There is a famous arsenic green pigment, that was used in inks, and to color wallpaper. the arsenic ink would slowly dry out, and fall as dust, and the cleaning a room with arsenic green wall paper would be toxic!

Uranium salts make a beautiful yellow, at least in glass. there are some samples in the Corning glass museum, and some old feista ware dishes used uranium in the glazes.

Its not enriched uranium, so the radio activity level is very low.. but still measurable.
It is a very brillent yellow shade.

(there is also a sci-fi short story about an alien world, and famous potters, who make use of uranium for glazing some pottery.)

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#107009 - 07/07/03 08:51 AM Re: awe and amazement
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
I beginning to think that there isn't anything that somebody on this board doesn't know... cool.

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#107010 - 07/07/03 09:09 AM Re: New colour word
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
In reply to:

There is another form of yellow, Orpiment. This is a mineral; I cannot remember the chemical compound but it has arsenic and is therefore rarely used. There is a rare, exotic and ceremonial fabric (or is it a costume) in Indonesia, that is dyed almost exclusively with Orpiment. Do you know more about this?


'fraid not, no.

Bingley

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#107011 - 07/07/03 12:28 PM Re: New colour word
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Orpiment is As2S3 Arsenic sulfide.
http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/sulfides/orpiment/orpiment.htm
Forgive me for being lazy about making short link.


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#107012 - 07/10/03 05:59 AM Colorado
consuelo Offline
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Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
In reply to:

and in spanish is a bit closer, with colorado being 'red river'


Just thought I'd pitch in my two pesos here. Colorado is indeed a river that runs through the Rocky Mountains and gives name to the state, however, the word colorado, from the verb colorear (to color), means "colored, tending towards red" or "beet red, red as a lobster, redfaced, blushing, etc."


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