chapter 6

Color In Anthropology And Folklore

John B. Hutchings    Bedford, England, (Unilever PLC, retired)

6.1 Introduction

For 300000 years Homo sapiens and their predecessors have used color in ceremony and art. In particular, they used the colors black, white and red, a triad familiar to 20th century anthropologists and folklorists. In archaeology, color is a fossil indicator of human behaviour, but for more recent times we can attempt to achieve a greater understanding.

Color and appearance are essential to the well-being of many living organisms, essential to the lowliest of insects, to plants, to animals and to mankind. The ability of the human species to see color has probably been inherited from ancestors who needed to see and select food ...

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