What was encaustic



"The Punic wax is prepared in the following manner: yellow wax is first blanched in the open air, after which it is boiled in water from the open sea, with the addition of some nitre. The flower of the wax, or, in other words, the whitest part of it, is then skimmed off with spoons, and poured into a vessel containing a little cold water. After this, it is again boiled in sea-water by itself, which done, the vessel is left to cool. When this operation has been three times repeated, the wax is left in the open air upon a mat of rushes, to dry in the light of the sun and moon; for while the latter adds to its whiteness, the sun helps to dry it. In order, however, that it may not melt, it is the practice to cover it with a linen cloth: if, when it has been thus refined, it is boiled once more, the result is a wax of the greatest possible whiteness". Pliny, H.N. 21, 49.