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Atramentum,1 too, must be reckoned among the artificial colours, although it is also derived in two ways from the earth. For sometimes it is found exuding from the earth like the brine of salt-pits, while at other times an earth itself of a sulphurous colour is sought for the purpose. Painters, too, have been known to go so far as to dig up half-charred bones2 from the sepulchres for this purpose.

All these plans, however, are new-fangled and troublesome; for this substance may be prepared, in numerous ways, from the soot that is yielded by the combustion of resin or pitch; so much so, indeed, that manufactories have been built on the principle of not allowing an escape for the smoke evolved by the process. The most esteemed black,3 however, that is made in this way, is prepared from the wood of the torch-pine.

It is adulterated by mixing it with the ordinary soot from furnaces and baths, a substance which is also employed for the purpose of writing. Others, again, calcine dried wine-lees, and assure us that if the wine was originally of good quality from which the colour is made, it will bear comparison with that of indicum.4 Polygnotus and Micon, the most celebrated painters of Athens, made their black from grape-husks, and called it "tryginon."5 Apelles invented a method of preparing it from burnt ivory, the name given to it being "elephantinon."

We have indicum also, a substance imported from India, the composition of which is at present unknown to me.6 Dyers, too, prepare an atramentum from the black inflorescence which adheres to the brazen dye-pans. It is made also from logs of torch-pine, burnt to charcoal and pounded in a mortar. The sæpia, too, has a wonderful property of secreting a black liquid;7 but from this liquid no colour is prepared. The preparation of every kind of atramentum is completed by exposure to the sun; the black, for writing, having an admixture of gum, and that for coating walls, an admixture of glue. Black pigment that has been dissolved in vinegar is not easily effaced by washing.

1 "Black colouring substance."

2 "Carbones infectos." The reading is very doubtful. It may possibly mean "charred bones tainted with dirt." This would make an inferior ivory-black. The earth before-mentioned is considered by Ajasson to be a deuto-sulphate of copper, a solution of which, in gallic acid, is still used for dyeing black. The water near copper-mines would very probably be also highly impregnated with it. Beckmann considers these to have been vitriolic products. Vol. II. p. 265.

3 Our Lamp-black. Vitruvius describes the construction of the manufactories above alluded to.

4 Probably, our Chinese, or Indian ink, a different substance from the indicum of Chapter 27.

5 From τρύξ, "grape-husks," or "wine-lees."

6 Indian ink is a composition of fine lamp-black and size.

7 See B. ii. c. 29. Sepia, for sepic drawing, is now prepared from these juices.

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