Why did the British government ban the Indian yellow hue of paint in 1908?

Indian yellow was first introduced in the 1750s and quickly became a staple of every artist’s palette because of its rich yellow hue.

To get the deep color, manufacturers fed mango leaves to cows, collected their urine, and made a concentrate from it.

In 1908 officials decided that feeding large quantities of mangoes to cows was inhumane, so the practice and the color were banned. However, it wasn’t until about fifty years later that paint ingredients more dangerous to humans were banned.

Some cynics believe this suggests that the value of a cow is greater than the value of an artist to the British government.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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