Friday, May 23, 2008

Blue Around The World

Blue. With the sun shining so brightly overhead in a cloudless blue sky, I can't help but associate blue with summer, delicious days outdoors, magnificent sunsets, and balmy, relaxing evenings that seem to go on forever....

Kate Smith from Sensational Color states: "Blue is the overwhelming "favorite color." Blue is seen as trustworthy, dependable, and committed."

It's a classic color, filled with rich meaning.

So, continuing with our series about Color Around The World, here is Blue Around The World, courtesy of Ann Hurley, Woman of Wear-Dated and Ultron carpet fiber color expert, who lives and breathes color and product trends.

Ann says...

Blue has been symbolic of fidelity in western cultures since early times. Blue flowers such as forget-me-nots and violets symbolized faithfulness in Europe.

Blue often indicates the sky, heaven, water, and life.

You’ve heard the saying, “once in a blue moon” – a blue moon is the phenomena of a full moon occurring twice in one calendar month. And occurred this past May--

In Egypt, ultramarine Blue was a natural color taken from the stone - lapis. It was also a symbol of the Nile, and was associated with crops and fertility.

At the end of the 13th century in Japan, the introduction of cotton clothing dyed with indigo changed the lifestyle of the rural peasant worker.

During Chairman Mao’s reign, the demand for blue work clothes grew considerably, leading to the development of synthetic blue dyes.

When first introduced in this country, US-grown indigo produced the most vivid shades of blue. Its affordability helped the growth of the color and of course, today, a synthetic version is used in the mass production of denim–for jeans!

In the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, Russian icons were seen often to commemorate the deceased. Their popularity reached a peak during the reign of Tsar Peter the Great, when the color blue had a supreme symbolic importance.

In the West, 12th century painters had become uninterested with traditional green, red and black, but were enchanted with the color blue. It was then that we first saw the Virgin Mary painted with a blue mantel. At that time, blue began to be associated with the heavens and spirituality, thus the popularity of blue soared.

In early Europe, a flower called the woad was the source of pigment used by ancient tribal warriors to paint their faces before going into battle. [Think Mel Gibson in Braveheart.] The Romans referred to these warriors as Picts – a Celtic (Keltic) meaning for ‘painted.’

We’re all familiar with the wedding custom of “Something old, something new – something borrowed, something blue.” According to an old English custom, a bride wears blue ribbons in her wedding gown and a blue sapphire in her wedding ring.

In Japan, the all male Kabuki performances use theatrical makeup symbolically: Red symbolizes bravery & justice, while blue symbolizes evil and the supernatural.

In India, Shiva, the Hindu Lord of Destruction is always shown with blue skin.

In ancient Persia, blue was a sacred color symbolizing paradise – and is lavishly incorporated in the Shah Mosque in Isfahan [check out Horizon's photos of the Shah Mosque].

And, now, for a question relating to Blue:

In our modern day tradition of dressing boys in blue and girls in pink, what does the blue and pink symbolize?

Answer: ancient associations of blue with the earth, and pink (or red) with fertility.

With that, I wish you a most wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and official beginning of Summer!

For previous posts in this series, see:
+ Green Around The World
+ Red Around The World
+ White Around The World.

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