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Multiple Meanings to Ochre[edit]

Sure, Ochre is a color, but what about the types of clay? There is no page on Wikipedia about that, and I believe this should be at least a segment or part of the introduction in this page. Agree? I sure do. Ruti10 (talk) (random) —Preceding undated comment added 23:16, 22 May 2012 (UTC).


Hey, man, who's providing these pronunciations? Do I really have to say 'euka' or is it all right to go on saying 'oker'? In the US, 'o' is not a diphthong and final 'r' is not silent.

All the dictionaries I have found say it's pronounced like "owe curr". – Quadell (talk) (random) 16:28, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
This is a phonemic transcription so it doesn't really matter that the /ɘʊ/ is not diphthongal, however, you're absolutely right about the final /r/. Jimp 15:51, 8 February 2007 (UTC)


I'd suggest that this article should be merged with the much more substantial Red Ochre article. Re Jackiestud's edits (vis the following):

Adam [1] [2] (from the hebrew adamá or red earth; adom, red, dam or blood [3] was created out of red clay [4]. In the prehistoric cultures the red ochre was associated with the worship of the Mother Earth or the Goddess who provided the neolithic peoples with fertility, birth, nature, fruits. The female blood is thus associated with red ochre. The so called venus figurines typified this art and religion [5].

The references are all to websites, none of which are reliable sources and some of which do not support your claims. Firstly re Adam, red earth is not the same thing as red ochre, which is a pigment. The Neo-Pagan goddess worship stuff is not supported by your sources, one of which refers to blood, but does not say that it's specifically "female blood". Also Venus figurines are sculptures, some of which may have been tinted with ochre, but since you do not mention that fact, its relevance is obscure. Paul B (talk) 13:05, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Jackie, your link was to something called the Encyclopedia of Islam. I've no idea how reliable this may be. Just being called 'encyclopedia' does not mean much in itself, but even if it is, it does not support all that you are saying. Adam is etymologically related to the terms for red and for earth, yes, but that does not make it relevant to an article on the pigment Ochre unless a source specifically links it to the pigment, nor does it somehow logically lead us to neopagan ideas about goddess worship. Paul B (talk) 17:29, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Oh, yes it does link Adam to teh goddess worship YES. Unless you can prove teh contrary, but you won´t. The link between the goddess worship and the earth is proven (or isn´t it??). And the link, the obvious inner relation with it is Campbell´s and M. Eliade´s (two major world scholars) is the central theme of many of theirs books. Jackiestud (talk) 17:35, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
No that's a non-sequitor. Just because neo-Pagans like the idea of a primal Earth Mother goddess, that does not link Adam to it by virtue of his being made from earth. Lathes do not get discussed in articles on Rodin bronzes just because both are made of metal. Paul B (talk) 17:40, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
You are the only who is using the word neopagan for Campbell and Eliade (!!), two major world ascolar. If you don´t respect Campbell and Eliade, you might be making fun out of scholarship. Jackiestud (talk) 17:49, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Neither Eliade nor Campbell are specialist scholars, but rather generalising theorists whose views are highly contestable. Campbell in particular is of very dubious reliability. However, you quote neither of them to make the connections you claim, nor do you say that they have anything to say about pigment as such. You are just inserting new-age Goddess-theory in an article in which it has has no relevance. Paul B (talk) 18:04, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Nope, not at all. Links I provided are not goddess worship related (no one of them!). Campbell is such a respected scholra that I caný belive my eyes reading this. Anyway the are mnay links to Campbell´s and Eliade´s words on this issue. sorry that you don´t know. Jackiestud (talk) 18:12, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Campbell's ideas are typical of mid-20th century myth theorists, deriving from Max Muller via Jung etc. Many of these ideas are very much 'of their time', when the concept of mythus was much discussed and linked to ideas about psychic and social regeneration, but all this is irrelevant. The point is that YOU are making wild leaps and connection while vaguely pointing on this page to Campbell and Eliade to justify them. In the article itself you just footnote dodgy webpages and make references to things which have no immediate relevance to Ochre. Paul B (talk) 18:23, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Your principal claim to relevance is the sentence "In the prehistoric cultures the red ochre was associated with the worship of the Mother Earth." I see no evidence provided for this whatever. Paul B (talk) 18:39, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Ironic that a conservative male scholar (Campbell) is being used this way (but then, there's Eliade being mentioned also!). Neither Campbell nor Eliade are the last word, both are just ignored by most modern scholars it appears. Even if there were some minor link between Adam and ochre, it's trivial and wouldn't belong except in a trivia section. Dougweller (talk) 18:54, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Try to google yr own phrase[edit]

LOL!! No? Here: Çatalhuyuk, Eliade and Campbell are plenty of this (could cite dozens of links (but this and Jung, according to you are but neopaganism!!), countless acaemic studies,,,.... And here: Venus figurines.
  1. In these red ochre burials, the dead were laid in either extended or ... that the Great Goddess was worshiped by the ancients from the Paleolithic era:
  2. (talk) 18:58, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Your first source is pure new-age fluff. The second source has more going for it, but note that the author specicfically states that she is putting forward a minority POV, contrary to your claims that this is standard, or even 'proven'. The author states:
"Since paleolithic times the sprinkling of red ochre on the bodies of dead people has been interpreted by most scholars as having some kind of magical power related to death, usually associated with a non-belief in an afterlife. I am of a completely different opinion..."
In other words she personally rejects the standard view that the ochre signifies return to the earth. I have my doubts about the reliability of someone who can write a sentence stating that scholars have been saying this "since paleolithic times"(!), however we'd need to know the status of Ms Sorlini's views. Paul B (talk) 19:29, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

NOPE, she does not...complkete the phrase[edit]

We were talking abt the relation of ochre and the Goddess --not abt the return to dead.

And "Iam of a completely different opinion and I think that the red ochre represented the color of life, the color of blood that surrondes the baby coming out of the mother´swomb and by consequence the color that surrounds the body of the dead going back to th emother womb".
so, completely related to after death and the Goddess. Jackiestud (talk) 19:39, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Did you even understand a word I said? She is saying that her view is the opposite of the mainstream one. So you cannot present this as fact; it's her minority opinion? Paul B (talk) 20:04, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
And woh is "she" --it´s an author. Jackiestud (talk) 19:41, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Do you thinks this SHE you reffering to is a neopagan? LOL19:50, 15 June 2009 (UTC)~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jackiestud (talkcontribs) ]
I've no idea if she is or not. She is Giulia Sorlini, the author of the article. She is a legitimate archaeologist. Paul B (talk) 20:03, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Well she may or may not be neo-pagan, but she is certainly a follower of Gimbutas, as she is listed here [1] at the Institute of Archaeomythology, an organisation dedicated to Gimbutas' ideas. Paul B (talk) 05:27, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Maybe you would like to have a look here. Ochre ie cited all over the book and all archealogical and etcs referring women and ochre. Jackiestud (talk) 06:36, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Jackie, we don't just trawl google books looking for anything to support our pre-conceived ideas. If you read the blurb of this book you will see that it says "this original and ingenious book presents a new theory of the origins of human culture. Integrating perspectives of evolutionary biology and social anthropology within a Marxist framework." There's nothing wrong with presenting a new theory of course, but we can't present it as fact, only as the opinion of a particular author, in this case Chris Knight. We'd also need to know about Knight to judge whether he is a reliable source for prehistory. His view seems to be relatively fringe. Paul B (talk) 21:54, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
Dear Paul, I know ehat the book says. But as you yrself can see, it´s a new theory on of the origins of human culture --but the authir didn´t say she will use new theories on the hostory of blood and their inner relation with pre history and culture. The new theory concerns the human culture --but departing form real facts of this culture. She can´t invent out of nothing these historical facts --although she can and does build a new theory BUT departingfrom real facts. Oh, by the way this is the definition and concept of theory --you MUST develop it departing form rela facts!! That´s how Darwin, Einstein Newton builttheir theories. A NEW theory but OLD and knowm facts. Jackiestud (talk) 12:17, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Chris Knight is a man, not a woman. You really need to look at the policies we use - WP:FRINGE, WP:UNDUE WEIGHT. Knight's "sex strike" theory is notable, but it is also marginal to models of human prehistory. It's essentially a Marxist attempt to appropriate sociobiology. If you look at the literature - reviews etc - you will see that the common response is interest, but scepticism. Paul B (talk) 12:22, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Oh, you know never mind. My edition on Ochre cited Adam and its etymology (adama, dam=red earth and blood), cite dthe Bible, cited the Mother Goddess worship in Pre history and CAmpbell and Eliade (and dozens of others) who see en evident relation. Campbell is jewish and he might very close to all jewsih culture. The hebrew goddess (a fantastic book) says th vey same --jews couldn´t "get rid" of mother goddess worship "like this", overnight.
It´s the same case with Dougweller, althugh I offered this link and cited page 192 (,M1)

he still say that this is no proof. Jews owe much of their culture to the egyptians (the first who ever talked on monothesim). and this book and many others say that. But it doen´t matter howmany sources I offered you will always say iut´s fringe...etc, etc. Jackiestud (talk) 12:42, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Campbell is not Jewish. Indeed he was at one time accused of Anti-Semitism. You want to fit all these disparate theories and individuals into the single mould of "mother goddess" worship. We should keep the thinkers separate, identify what is important to the topic of the article, and add it with attribution. The idea that Jews derived monotheism from Egyptians is a product of debate over the influence of Atenism, but there are also other theories which stress the importance of Zoroastrian influence during the exile, and others which emphasise the idea of evolution from henotheism. That Semitic peoples, including the precursors of Jews, had female deities is not, I think, disputed. Paul B (talk) 13:23, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
It's not my fault that you keep finding the works of fringe writers such as Van Sertima, who also thinks that the Africans were responsible for major cultural developments in the Americas, also nonsense. Or think that the Jews owe much of their culture to Egypt. Dougweller (talk) 13:27, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Oh, guys, I really don´t know what people like you, who are so well informed to the point of denying Campbell, Eliade and all these books, are doing here offering these high thoughts to people like me. There will always be someone who will deny somebody else´s theory --this has no end. Even Darwin, who only theorizes abt life after the beginning of it, within its context, and cannot by no means talk abt God, is cited to deny God´s existence. Darwin could never explain how did life begin --who gave the first click, snap...So, I could say that all his theory concerning life is also fringe and the books cited on his article can be denied by me or anyone who delas with it. This is endless. As for africans and americans there might be a lot to learn and assume and surely afro offered a lot to americans --and afor doens´t mena only black, but egyptian, etc. There are so many who believe all humans come from Africa and we were all black. I agree with it.
But the field of theories who are written by one and denied by another ascholar has no end. What is pertaining to this issue and many otehrs I try to edit is the same reply you offer: fringr, no reliable sources. I cited Eliade and Campbell (not only Campbell), I cited the Biblie, Adam´s etymology (cited on WP-en itself) and Pre History. This is what matters --it shouldné be necessary to look for so many sources. Jackiestud (talk) 14:15, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
This is tiresome. You did not cite Adam's etymology from our article Adam. You wrote "(from the hebrew adamá or red earth; adom, red, dam or blood" whereas our article says " it is the masculine form of the word adamah meaning ground or earth and related to the words adom (red), admoni (ruddy) and dam (blood)". So, your claim that it comes from the word for 'red earth' is not backed up by our article. Dougweller (talk) 15:28, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I see no difference from what I wrote to what is written above in yr own words. Could I reword using yr words? DO you agree to make it available on Ochre, Adam and Eve or Feminism? Jackiestud (talk) 16:31, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
The text I wrote adn you deleted from these articles could be considered a feminist view, but I think this makes of a such an interesting theme a minor one. This is history and shows the continuity from Pre history Mother Goddess worship and her manifestation on cave art, religion, figurines --and the Bible. It is major issue for a feminist view to see that Eve/women are as metaphorical as Adam himself --the only difference in fact in that Goddess worhsip "prevails" and that if Eve comes from Adam´s rib, Adam was born out of a red clay...of blood --the two outstanding symbols of this Goddess. Jackiestud (talk) 16:54, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
And that's original research without a source. Adam is a mythical character, his name does not mean red clay, let alone ochre. This is definitely not history as history relies on written sources. And only where we have written sources can we be sure we are talking about a Mother Goddess, without them we are only speculating. Dougweller (talk) 17:15, 22 June 2009 (UTC)


Namibie Himba 0717a.jpg

Can someone explain why we have to have the National Geographic-style naked woman to illustrate a color? If this is generally used as a pigment, I bet we can use a face foto or an arm - or maybe even a man? --WiseWoman (talk) 10:14, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

And why is it a problem that a woman is used? It illustrates the topic - the use of the pigment in tribal cultures as body paint connected to ritual/ceremonial events. Are women's bodies somehow offensive but men's bodies are not? Using just a face or an arm would not accurately convey how the paint is used. Paul B (talk) 10:19, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
The article uses a photograph of a woman because wearing ochre is something only women do in the Himba tribe. It's a gendered cosmetic, like bright red lipstick. --Danger (talk) 02:14, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
How about the image to the right? --JN466 19:37, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
The one that is currently there is much better because it displays the process of body decoration. That one does not. The reasons for exclusion are simply prudery, nothing more, nothing less. IMO, they should be resisted for that reason alone, but it is also clear that the picture you refer to tells us far less than the one that is currently used. It even includes a visual comparison of a painted and unpainted bodies. Paul B (talk) 20:13, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Please assume AGF; accusing me of prudery is the same as if I were to accuse you of wanting to keep the picture merely because you enjoy seeing her breasts. Debating the merits, then, the picture to the right is a close-up. It clearly shows the use of the pigment on her hair, her skin, her head piece, and the decorative rings around her neck. In addition, it doesn't suffer from the male gaze stereotype, but is a picture that men and women readers can enjoy equally. It is clearly superior. (You are mistaken about the present picture showing the process of body decoration; the image shows her applying a perfume, not ochre.) --JN466 20:41, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
I didn't accuse you of anything. Your only comment has been "How about the image to the right?" As you say, please assume AGF (actually the A already stands for "assume", but never mind!). I said to you that in my opinion the only reasons for objecting to the image are prudery. That was a comment to you, not about you. The present image shows the process of bbody decoration, just as I said. Even though she is not actually applying the pigment, it is there clearly to be seen, and the application of the perfume only adds to the information. And my second reason also stands. I see nothing in your proposed image to recommend it. The current image also "clearly shows the use of the pigment on her hair, her skin, her head piece, and the decorative rings around her neck". Why cannot women "enjoy" images of women? I have no objection to semi-nude images of men on the grounds that they represent the "female gaze". Paul B (talk) 21:04, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
You may well ask "Why can't women enjoy images of women?", but the original poster clearly did not; that is a fact, whereas your "Why can't women ..." is self-serving philosophy.
The image description for the current image is, "Himba lady preparing deodorant. She uses smoke from smouldering specific herbs, plants and aromatic resins to cleanse and perfume herself." The mixture she is preparing is white; it is not the ochre pigment. --JN466 21:27, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Unless there's any evidence that the current photo is actually depicting the process of preparing the Ochre pigment, I think the alternative image is better. Kaldari (talk) 00:07, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
The evidence is right in front of your eyes. The pigment is in the jar next to the white one, which is apparently being re-used. In any case the perfume is part of the adornment process that complements the pigment use. And as I say, the visual contrast between adorned and unadorned bodies is there, and we see how the pighment is used, and the fact that it covers the whole body. I can see no reason whatever to prefer the second image. User:Jayen466, you talk about AGF and then you say ""Why can't women ..." is self-serving philosophy." That's outright nonsense and frankly outrageous. How am I "self-serving"? Do I somehow get paid everytime someone looks at this picture? What I am trying to serve is the interests of useful visual information over pointless censorship based on no evidence whatever. And one poster does not represent womankind. She represents herself. That is a fact. Paul B (talk) 10:44, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
See File:Himba_lady_applying_deodorant.jpg. There is no pigment in the other jar either. The ochre body paint is part of women's everyday appearance in that culture; it is not used for ritual purposes. While there is a scent mixed in with the body paint, this is not what the lady is doing. As the image description says, she "uses smoke from smouldering specific herbs, plants and aromatic resins to cleanse and perfume herself." The body paint is composed of animal fat and ochre. The action depicted here is as different from the body colouring process as applying perfume is from applying lipstick. --JN466 14:32, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I don't have as much a problem with the issues above in this case, if some things can be corrected:

  • Because of the busy background, the caption needs to point out the person next to her is a natural color; it took me a couple glances to notice that and see what a big difference there was between them
  • The large face image is more striking because it does not have all the distracting background issues; too bad there isn't one of two full bodied people, with and without, standing next to each other. (Breasts/penises or no.)
  • Do males use it in this tribe. And do they use it on their pensises? (Inquiring women want to know.)
  • The article only makes passing mention to one set of males using it and the photo gives the impression that only women do it. So a photo or a graphic of white male(s) wearing it would be great. Maybe someone at WP:Graphic_Lab/Image_workshops could whip something up on that - and even something per my suggestion above about two people that would satisfy all issues and parties. CarolMooreDC (talk) 20:06, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
    • Men in Himba society don't use body paint; women wear it constantly. There is a picture showing a Himba man and woman together at File:Himba-Hirten.jpg. I think it's too small to use though (I mean the figures in the image are too small to see well). --JN466 20:21, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I stated that the woman is engaged in a process of body adornment, which includes the perfume. Applying perfume and applying lipstick are indeed fundamentally part of the same process, as most men who have waited for their girlfriends to get ready for a night out will know. I notice that you simply ignore the arguments to which you have no reply. And I still see no reasonable argument against the image. I don't understand your interpretation of Carol's comments at all. I've no doubt that "WP:Graphic_Lab/Image_workshops could whip something" depicting a white male wearing ochre, but that would be a wholly separate image unrelated to raison d'etre for the Himba one. BTW, you have no consensus that I can see, since Carol is clearly arguing that the caption should be improved to point out the contrast of colour, not that the image should be changed. I gather from your talk page that you are preoccupied by allegedly "pornographic" images, not with Himba culture nor the use of ochre. This page should not be used in a battle over irrelevant campaigns against nakedness. Paul B (talk) 21:29, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
To the contrary, I think the distinction is quite important. If the photo is not of the woman preparing the ochre pigment, it is quite misleading in the presented context. Imagine, for example, if we had a photo of a European woman applying deodorant within the article on lipstick. People would complain that the picture is misleading. But you would argue that it is appropriate because the woman is wearing lipstick and it's all part of the same process anyway. In that context, wouldn't it sound like a ridiculous argument? What is the difference with this situation? Kaldari (talk) 22:44, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Goodness. Such a lot of discussion. I like the head shot as it is much clearer. It had nothing to do with prudery (why do you call a woman a prude when she objects to seeing only pictures of naked women and none of naked men? I've been having this conversation for over 20 years and it is getting boring. Get off your male-gaze POV and let's get on with it!--WiseWoman (talk) 19:39, 25 February 2011 (UTC)


I can't find "ocher" as a word in any reputable dictionary. My guess would be that this is a non-American editor familiar with the rule of thumb that "-re," when pronounced "er," becomes "-er" in the US, but ochre, like ogre, appears to be an exception. Twin Bird (talk) 14:33, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

I believe both spellings are used in American english, thus Ochre should be used as it is common to both. With the exception of quotations/titles/&c. that might use the other form. PaleAqua (talk) 04:09, 2 December 2014 (UTC)


WP:ENGVAR calls for using the original language variant of the first non-stub version of the article or the most recent consensus, which in this case should be American English as both the original stub, and the early article up through 2014 Nov 25 was in America English. Thus I will be reverting the changes. Going to try to go through them manually to avoid messing up quotes etc. Please fix if I miss anything. PaleAqua (talk) 04:09, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

Finished my edits. Wasn't able to find the exact quote by André Leroi-Gourhan in my searches though it appears to have been a translation of a French work. Also seems like references could be cleaned up a bit, and standardized using a citation template and then Notes and citations should be merged with references. At quick glances seems like there are some duplicates between the list. PaleAqua (talk) 04:51, 2 December 2014 (UTC)


I've reverted to the long-established standard translation of Cennini. The new translation, if it is accurately transcribed, contains sentences that are barely intelligible, such as: "And the abovementioned pigments running through this landscape looked as a scar on the face of a man or of a woman looks... I went in behind with my little knife, prospecting at the scar of this pigment; and in this way, I promise you, I never sampled a more lovely and perfect ochre pigment." I think we have a duty to give a readable text. Paul B (talk) 21:35, 29 March 2015 (UTC)