Color symbolism was a big deal in Ancient Egypt, and numerous books and articles have been written on colors in Egyptian art. In honor of the Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations this weekend, I’ve decided to focus this post on the symbolic significance of one of these colors in ancient Egyptian art–green.
The Egyptian term for green could encompass both the modern Western concept of the color green as well as some shades of blue. The term was frequently used in association with vegetation; for the ancient Egyptians, who raised crops in a very limited amount of fertile land within a vast, largely uninhabitable dessert, the color green easily came to represent life, virility, and regeneration.
This also explains the very bizarre looking depictions of the god Osiris (god of resurrection and the Underworld) with vivid green skin. He’s not violently ill, he’s that color because he’s a resurrected being.
So if you’re flippantly wearing, eating, or drinking something green this weekend, now you know how significant the color green could be in ancient Egypt.