Phipps, Elena, Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color



Phipps, Elena, Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color
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.
Elena Phipps is senior museum conservator in the Department of Textile Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Elena Phipps has been a textile conservator at Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked between 1977-2010. She has her PhD in Pre-Columbian art from the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University (1989). Her interests focus on the history of textile materials and techniques in relation to cultural perspectives. In 2004 she was co-curator of an exhibition and co-author of the catalogue The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork 1530-1830, at the MMA. The catalogue was awarded both the Alfred Barr Jr. award from the College Art Association, and the Mitchell Prize, in 2006. She has contributed essays in a number of scholarly publications including The Getty Murúa: Historia General del Piru. Her recent publications include Cochineal Red: the art history of a color (Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press)2010 and Looking at Textiles (Getty Publications, Los Angeles) 2011.

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