Caput Mortuum means “dead head” or “worthless remains”, which is kind of scary considering I have used the color to paint the head of a living person. Caput Mortuum is also known as “Cardinal purple” since it has been a popular color to use for painting the robes of religious figures, according to Wikipedia: “The name for this pigment may have come from the alchemical usage, since iron oxide (rust) is the useless residue of oxidization. It was originally a byproduct of sulfuric acid manufacture during the 17th & 18th centuries, and was possibly an early form of the copperas process used for the manufacture of Venetian red and copperas red. Caput mortuum is also sometimes used as an alternative name for Mummy brown (alternatively, Egyptian brown), a pigment that was originally made in the 16th and 17th centuries from ground-up mummies, and whose use was discontinued in the 19th century when artists became aware of its ingredients.”
Hmm…? Yummy brown… But it is an interesting color to work with.