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The color of the Ovahimba

The earliest evidence of pigment use goes back to at least 300,000 years ago. Archeologists interpret these pieces of ochre as the earliest evidence of the existence of symbolic systems or the leftovers of utilitarian activities. This film documents a scientific expedition organized to visit the Ovahimba, an ethnic group in northern Namibia that still extensively uses red mineral pigments. The researchers document in detail the processes of pigment extraction, preparation and use by Ovahimba women, and the significance of these practices. Laboratory analyses confirm that the use of red pigment by the Ovahimba fulfils both utilitarian and symbolic functions.Special ...
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