I hope for the sake of us all as human beings this isn't true, however it is said this was originally made from the ground up remains of Egyptian mummies mixed with pitch and myrrh. It became popular as it had good transparency in oil paint, and was used for glazes, shadows, flesh tones and shading. Apparently it fell from popularity during the nineteenth century when its composition became more generally known to artists.
The modern pigment sold as “mummy” is composed of a mixture of hematite, goethite, clay and quartz; the hematite and goethite (generally from 20 to 60% of the content) determining its colour—the more hematite the redder the pigment—with the others being inert substances that can vary the opacity or tinting strength. This particular pigment comes from the quarries in Lori province of northern Armenia.
I can confirm that we would not and never have condoned the grinding up of ancient egyptian mummies for use in oil paint manufacture, apart from that one last week...
|Colour Index:||Pigment Red 102 (77491)|
|Chemical Name:||Natural Iron Oxide|