The colours surrounding the human existence in entirety are so ubiquitous that the human race often fails to see them but opening our eyes can give the humans new insights and a different sense of themselves. The author casts a wide net, aiming to tell the story of humanity through the symbolism of seven colours: black, red, yellow, blue, white, purple, and green. He introduces the subject on how colours work at a scientific level, examining how the spectrum was slowly defined and understood.
This is interesting stuff, but the author’s real interest is social construction. Much of the meaning of black, associated with evil, stems from biblical references. Red often means blood and violence as well as sexual attractiveness. Yellow is often associated with the sun but also has links to villainy: For ages, blue, as an artistic colour, was derived from somewhat tame vegetable dyes but the discovery of Prussian blue, the first synthetic pigment, changed art styles ranging from the impressionists to Japanese woodcuts.
White has often meant purity in everything from faith to soap. Purple, long associated with royalty really only came into its own when painters like Monet used it to add depth and texture to landscapes. Green has historically been tied to fertile gardens, which has evolved to its current connection with environment-based political parties and issues. Interestingly, the Quran describes green as the colour of paradise.
Diving deep into the background, the author illustrates his points with a wide range of visuals, from the chemical structure of dyes to the pristine-white marble sculptures of Michelangelo. The colour story, he notes, shows no sign of ending—as it should be. The book makes readers to see the world around them in a different light. TW
You can also check The Avoidable war