I recently read a book called COLOR: A Natural History of the Palette, Victoria Finlay, Random House, 2004. It follows the author as she crosses the world searching for the origins of color. Part travelogue, part adventure story, part art & regional history, part journal. I’ve briefly read/studied the origins of dyes and pigments in school (as a precursor to making color wheels, value & graduation triangles, etc.), but the way these stories are presented, it is easy to see that value, history and religious/political/cultural importance of color.