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Color symbolism in art and anthropology refers to the use of color as a symbol in various cultures. There is great diversity in the use of colors and their associations between cultures and even within the same culture in different time periods. In fact, the same color may have very different associations within the same culture at any time. For example, red is often used for stop signs or danger. At the same time, red is also frequently used in association with romance, e.g. with Valentine's Day. White variously signifies purity, innocence, wisdom or death. Blue has similarly diverse meanings.
Symbolic representations of religious concepts or articles may include a specific color with which the concept or object is associated. There is evidence to suggest that colors have been used for this purpose as early as 90,000 BC.
Extensive associations for each color are listed in their respective articles.
- Whitfield TW, Wiltshire TJ. (Nov 1990). "Color psychology: a critical review". Genet Soc Gen Psychol Monogr 4 (116): 385–411.
- "religious symbolism and iconography." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 17 February 2010 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/497416/religious-symbolism>.
- Hovers, E.; Ilani, S.; Bar‐yosef, O.; Vandermeersch, B. (2003). "An Early Case of Color Symbolism: Ochre Use by Modern Humans in Qafzeh Cave". Current Anthropology 44 (4): 491. doi:10.1086/375869.
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