Getting to Know Your Colors, pt 1

Colors affect us. No question there, right? Each hue seems to have a different emotional effect, whether they’re connected to our own history and experience or to something more mystical, the symbolism is profound. Here are some of the more general emblematic uses and symbols for six of the big colors. Be sure to tune into part 2, tomorrow!

1. Green

a) The ancients often used the same words for deep blue, green and steel gray.
b) In Japanese, the same word can be used to say blue or green.
c) Green = money and riches, also growth and prosperity (because of nature/trees)
d) But watch out! Too much money and prosperity makes people green with envy In antiquity, the Hebrew word for envy, qinah, referred to the burning color in the face produced by a deep emotion. The Greeks believed that jealousy was accompanied by an overproduction of bile, lending a yellowish-green pallor to the victim’s complexion. In the seventh century B.C., the poetess Sappho used the word “green” to describe the face of a stricken lover.
e) The most famous such reference and the origin of the term “green-eyed monster” is Iago’s speech in Shakespeare’s Othello: “O! Beware my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”
f) Of course, these days green is associated with the movement to clean up the environment. Go green!

2. White

a) Ah, the color of light itself! That’s why it’s always been associated with God, or the local divine power. (Good over evil.)
b) The priests of Jupiter wore white robes.
d) In Egypt, Osiris wore a white tiara.
e) The Greek word for white, aspros, suggests happiness and gaiety.
f) Romans used white chalk to mark auspicious days (and, conversely, black chalk for inauspicious days).
g) But least you think white has only been associated with good, let’s not forget that pallor and blankness can be seen as sinister and, of course, ghosts and phantoms are often depcitetd as white.

3. Black

a) The opposite of innocence might be defilement—black is mourning where white is joy.
b) Black has long been associated with error and annihilation.
c) The Athenian expiatory ship that sailed every year to Crete and Delos hoisted black sails when it departed (and, surprise surprise, white sails when it returned).
d) Speaking of sailors, Pirates favored black hats.
e) More recently, we have Darth Vader and other nefarious sorts represented by black
f) The eight ball in billiards is black (“Behind the eight ball”)
g) But then there’s the other side of black that signifies a solid basic or structural strength.
h) Black also can conjure up feelings of peace and quiet, in contrast to the nosy agitation of light. Think of the deep restful quiet of a heavy night’s sleep.

4. Red

a) Of all the hues, red generally pushes the most emotional buttons.
b) Love, valor, fire, fervor, energy - they’re all red.
c) Red is the sign of alarm!
d) Why is the Staples That Was Easy Button red?
e) Red can represent sin, too: “though your sins be as scarlet.” (Isaiah 1:18)

5. Yellow

a) Next to white, yellow, the lightest of colors, also generally symbolizes “light” though not as pure as white.
b) Yellow is rich and “gold” - the noblest of metals.
c) Divine love enlightening human understanding has been symbolized by yellow
d) Yellow is the imperial color in China
e) On the other side, we have sayings like “a yellow streak”—which means acting in a cowardly way and not very brave.

6. Blue

a) Blue has long been associated with truth, wisdom, divine eternity and immortality.
c) While white may be an absolute truth, blue is a truth that could be revealed to and understood by men.
d) Blue moons, the third full moon in a season with four full moons, or the second full moon of a calendar month, are rare.
e) Blue may be sad and lonely for some these days, but traditionally its been associated with the idea of constancy and loyalty.
f) In China blue was the color of the dead (vis-à-vis red, the color of the living)
g) On a personal note, blue has long been my favorite of all the colors!

University of York
Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
UK Archaeologists Have Found One of the World’s Oldest 'Crayons'
University of York
University of York

A prehistoric chunk of pigment found near an ancient lake in England may be one of the world's oldest crayons, Colossal reports. The small object made of red ochre was discovered during an archaeological excavation near Lake Flixton, a prehistoric lake that has since become a peat wetland but was once occupied by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Though it’s hard to date the crayon itself, it was found in a layer of earth dating back to the 7th millennium BCE, according to a recent study by University of York archaeologists.

Measuring less than an inch long, the piece of pigment is sharpened at one end, and its shape indicates that it was modified by a person and used extensively as a tool, not shaped by nature. The piece "looks exactly like a crayon," study author Andy Needham of the University of York said in a press release.

A pebble of red ochre thought to be a prehistoric crayon
University of York

The fine grooves and striations on the crayon suggest that it was used as a drawing tool, and indicate that it might have been rubbed against a granular surface (like a rock). Other research has found that ochre was collected and used widely by prehistoric hunter-gatherers like the ones who lived near Lake Flixton, bolstering the theory that it was used as a tool.

The researchers also found another, pebble-shaped fragment of red ochre at a nearby site, which was scraped so heavily that it became concave, indicating that it might have been used to extract the pigment as a red powder.

"The pebble and crayon were located in an area already rich in art," Needham said. "It is possible there could have been an artistic use for these objects, perhaps for coloring animal skins or for use in decorative artwork."

[h/t Colossal]

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Tour the National Museum of Scotland From Home With Google Street View
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Google's Street View technology can be used to view some amazing art, whether it's behind the walls of the Palace of Versailles in France or the Guggenheim Museum in New York. As the BBC reports, the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh is the latest institution to receive the virtual treatment.

The museum contains items tracing the history of the world and humanity. In the Natural World galleries, visitors will find a hulking Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and a panorama of wildlife. In the World Cultures galleries, there are centuries' worth of art and innovation to see. The museum's permanent galleries and the 20,000 objects on display can all be viewed from home thanks to the new online experience.

Users can navigate the virtual museum as they would a regular location on Street View. Just click the area you wish to explore and drag your cursor for full 365-degree views. If there's a particular piece that catches your interest, you may be able to learn more about it from Google Arts & Culture. The site has added 1000 items from the National Museum of Scotland to its database, complete with high-resolution photos and detailed descriptions.

The Street View tour is a convenient option for art lovers outside the UK, but the museum is also worth visiting in person: Like its virtual counterpart, admission to the institution is free.

[h/t BBC]


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