Sunday, 6 May 2012

Black Sheep or Black Cat?

So is Black always bad? And is in fact a colour anyway? Scientist will say black is not a colour and white is, whereas an artist or a child faced with a box of pencils will say that black is a colour and not white........ whichever way you perceive it, black and all its implications is a very strong force in our culture.
Black stands for authority and seriousness. It is the colour of power, elegance, formality, evil, mystery, death. It is the complete opposite of white in most respects. Do you see a black cat crossing your path as good or bad luck?

It is the colour of darkness, black holes, the fear of the unknown. The colour of Black death, blacklist, black days, black sheep of the family. Its the colour of funerals and grief in most western cultures and infact a Greek widow will often wear black for the rest of her life if her husband dies. In Heraldry, black is the colour symbolic of grief.   Interestingly white takes on this role in most of Africa and some of Asia.

Black is the colour of anarchy. Anarchists adopt a black flag, black clothing is hard to identify in a mob. The Italian Fascists Militas were called Blackshirts as were the SS troups in Nazi Germany . In a black and white situation, black invariably is seen as the negative. It's the colour of punks, goths, subcultures. The bad black magic, not the good white witch. The pirate flag, the' Blackbeard the Bad. 'Its inbedded in our culture wherever we turn.

However its not all bad. Its a powerful prestigious colour to wear. Think of black tie event or a fabulous music recital when every musician will wear black in some shape or form. A background to let the music sing forth from.  A black suit or  dress will make you look thinner. It is a 'colour that pushes down and away ' allowing other colours to shine out. It can make for an aggressive colour scheme but also make a strikingly bold one.

And lets not forget the All Blacks, the discovery of a black box to tell us with authority what happened to a crashed plane. Black belt is the highest martial arts level. The black snooker ball the most prized. And then of course the bottom line is if your bank account is ' in the black' rather than the red, well that is the ultimate respect for a colour that is debatable in the first place.

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