By Marian Connor

I was thinking about pink. Well pink and purple to be more precise. Recently I have been creating new cards and booklets for a series of workshops we will be presenting at Google Campus London over the next few months.

Time and again I am drawn to pink and purple with a smattering of orange so I reviewed the significance of these colours and found some interesting information.

The names we use for colours slowly develop within languages. In ancient Greece there appears to be no specific adjective for blue. Anthropologists found after an analysis of 98 different languages that they all contained words for black and white but it was only after they had words for 8 other colours that they named purple, pink and orange.

Purple line 400 x 50

Purple

Since ancient times purple has been associated with spirituality and higher consciousness. In antiquity purple was created by extracting the colour from marine molluscs, Murex and Purpura. This required large quantities of marine life plus much time and labour, resulting in a very expensive product, which was only used for royalty and exalted citizens. Romans dressed their triumphant soldiers and generals in purple.

Born to purple – born to wealth and privilege

Not until the 19th century was a dyestuff chemically created by William Henry Perkin which allowed the cheaper mass production of purple textiles, allowing the hoi polloi to wear the colour of the few.

Purple is a Japanese symbol of universal harmony as it is thought to transcend the duality of yin and yang, shadow and light, used to promote peaceful reflection and enhance creativity.

In popular culture a purple heart is a medal awarded to American soldiers for bravery. Purple Haze uses the title of a Jimmy Hendrix song in reference to psychoactive drugs. Purple Rain is a classic by Prince.

 

 

“I never saw a purple cow, I never hope to see one, but I can tell you anyhow I’d rather see than be one.”

 Gladys Taber

Pink

A mixture of red and white resulting in the colour named after a flower, Pink-Dianthus. European languages stayed with the flower theme but chose a rose, hence the French and other variations.

The pinks we refer to have frilly edges and from the 14th century pink was used to describe something with a decorative edge, resulting in the name pinking shears for scissors that cut a zigzag finish.

The association of pink for girls and blue for boys is a modern construct. Prior to World War 1 the colours were not gender specific, in fact babies usually wore a neutral white but gradually manufacturers must have seen a marketing opportunity, they chose pink for girls and blue for boys and it stuck.

Chromotherapy, using colour and light to affect us physically and psychologically would use pink to encourage calmness and relaxation. Its symbolic association with health and abundance is seen in:

‘In the Pink’

‘Everything is Rosy’

‘Tickled Pink’

A horizontal bar of pink colour

 

“Almost all words do have colour and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone’s eyes light up and know it’s a pink word for him or her too.”

Gladys Taber

Orange

By the middle ages we still had no specific word for orange. It was referred to as ‘Geoluhread’ which meant yellow red. Chaucer referred to it as “bitwixe yellow and red.” In the 16th century the fruit arrived and orange was derived from the Spanish word, Naranja.

Orange is a combination of red and yellow representing passion and flair which is why the colour is used to promote energy levels.

The Chinese and Japanese see it as a colour that brings love and happiness.

“Orange is the happiest color.”

Frank Sinatra

A horizontal bar of orange colour

 

I would find it difficult to choose a favourite from these colours as my preference changes with my mood, but if I was to be represented on the Charles Booth Map of London Poverty I would have to choose red which represented ‘Well To Do’, as opposed to purple which in this instance ironically was the colour of the ‘Poor and Comfortable.’

Colour Key for the Descriptive Map of London Poverty by Charles Booth, 1889

Charles Booth 1889 Colour Chart from the Descriptive Map of London Wealth and Poverty 600 x 400

 

Here is a little something to bring colour into your day.

Colors by The Mercadantes

 

 

 

Image Tile/Header/Blog – Colour Key for the Descriptive Map of London Poverty by Charles Booth, 1889.

YouTube – Purple Rain by Prince – duration 00:04:24

Vimeo – Colors by The Mercadantes – duration 00:02:40

If we have whet your appetite for further discovery, keep in mind that we create interactive experiential workshops and events embracing 8 elements, exploring a myriad of ways to enhance your health and happiness. Oh yes and let’s not forget these are beautifully packaged with individually created accoutrements for your delectation. All delivered by us, business to business, people to people.

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Photo of Marian Connor and black text saying "Always looking over the horizon to discover treasures to share. Often times whilst partaking of a fine red."