[XeTeX] Coloured fonts

Philip Taylor P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk
Thu Mar 18 19:37:38 CET 2021

Seeking to re-typeset a long out-of-print classic on Xiang-Qi ("Chinese Chess"), but with the pieces shewn as they really are rather than as upper-case Latin letters requiring a gloss (the presentation chosen by the original author), I downloaded and installed Andrew West's BabelStone Xiangqi Colour font<https://www.babelstone.co.uk/Fonts/Xiangqi.html>.  I then wrote a short piece of XeTeX code to check that the glyphs/pieces appear in the PDF as they should, and very sadly they do not, coming out as monochrome rather than in colour (see attached PDF).

The red pieces are described by Andrew as red Chinese characters on a sandy yellow background, and the black pieces as black Chinese characters on a sandy yellow background.  In the resulting PDF, however, they appear as white Hanzi on a black ground and black Hanzi on a white ground.  Does XeTeX support coloured fonts, and if so, how do I persuade it to render these glyphs as intended rather than in monochrome ?

I can, of course, load \font \redpieces = "BabelStone Xiangqi Colour":color=FF0000 scaled \magstep 5 (see code below), but that still does not give me the sandy yellow ground that each glyph was designed to have.

'opentype-info.tex', when run against BabelStone Xiangqi Colour, tells me that the font does not provide any Opentype layout features, so it does not look as if XeTeX's "/ICU:+abcd" convention would allow me to indicate that I require colour support.

% !TeX Program=XeTeX

\font \pieces = "BabelStone Xiangqi Colour" scaled \magstep 5
\font \redpieces = "BabelStone Xiangqi Colour":color=FF0000 scaled \magstep 5
\font \blackpieces = "BabelStone Xiangqi Colour" scaled \magstep 5
\centerline {\char "1FA60\relax \ \char "1FA61\relax \ \char "1FA62\relax \ \char "1FA63\relax \ \char "1FA64\relax \ \char "1FA65\relax \ \char "1FA66\relax}
\centerline {\strut}
\centerline {\char "1FA67\relax \ \char "1FA68\relax \ \char "1FA69\relax \ \char "1FA6A\relax \ \char "1FA6B\relax \ \char "1FA6C\relax \ \char "1FA6D\relax}
\centerline {\strut}
\centerline {\strut}
\centerline {\redpieces \char "1FA60\relax \ \char "1FA61\relax \ \char "1FA62\relax \ \char "1FA63\relax \ \char "1FA64\relax \ \char "1FA65\relax \ \char "1FA66\relax}
\centerline {\strut}
\centerline {\blackpieces \char "1FA67\relax \ \char "1FA68\relax \ \char "1FA69\relax \ \char "1FA6A\relax \ \char "1FA6B\relax \ \char "1FA6C\relax \ \char "1FA6D\relax}
Philip Taylor

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