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  • Categories

  • The Trinity: Black, White, and Red.


    In pagan antiquity black represented the underworld. Black, as "the negation of colors" is symbolic of death, darkness and evil, also of falsehood and error, sorrow and vice. The illuminators of the Middle Ages represented Christ draped in black while wrestling with the Spirit of Evil, and in the 12th century, in Byzantine art, the Virgin Mary often has a black complexion symbolic of woe. Black for mourning and mortuary color is a very ancient tradition. Georgius writes: "Black is the third of the four sacred or canonical colors, and is used by the Roman Church (and formerly by the Eastern Church too) on penitential days." Black has also been considered as signifying counsel and antiquity, but in heraldry it is symbolic of prudence, wisdom and constancy in adversity and love...To the Moors black designates grief, obscurity and constancy.

    -The Encyclopedia Americana. 1918. p. 899


    Though in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own, as in marbles, japonicas, and pearls; and though various nations have in some way recognised a certain royal preeminence in this hue; even the barbaric, grand old kings of Pegu placing the title "Lord of the White Elephants" above all their other magniloquent ascriptions of dominion; and the modern kings of Siam unfurling the same snow-white quadruped in the royal standard; and the Hanoverian flag bearing the one figure of a snow-white charger; and the great Austrian Empire, Caesarian, heir to overlording Rome, having for the imperial colour the same imperial hue...

    -Moby Dick; or, The White Whale. 1892. p. 178


    The attention value of color depends partly on the fact that the optic nerve is stimulated more by some colors than by others and partly on the principle of contrast. Animals are often excited by red objects, and persons who work in rooms with bright red walls are liable to become subject to nervous diseases. Red, beyond all other colors, forces itself upon us. It screams for attention; it dominates all the other colors.

    -Fundamentals of Advertising. 1943. p. 164