In December 2020, Pantone Color Institute announced the 2021 popular colors, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, these two colors, a bright and a reliable & calm, Illuminating color is like a light that cut through the moments that were fixed in 2020and becomes the most comfortable match for 2021.
Returning to the traditional Hanfu, what are the historical origin and matching of yellow and gray? Let’s take a look.
01 – The honored yellow color in history
Perhaps subconsciously, you would think that yellow is the exclusive color of ancient emperors. Is this true?
In ancient times, yellow was a frequently mentioned color:
During the Zhou Dynasty, it was recorded in Yi-Kun (易·坤): “Huang Shang Yuan Ji (黄裳元吉)”, meaning that wearing inconspicuous yellow lower garments was greatly auspicious. In ancient China, yellow is used to refer to the earth, which is actually a very friendly color.
The yellow color in the ancient painting “Bunian Tu (步辇图)” is a bit on the red side of the yellow, which is the earthy brown we often talk about.
In addition, we must mention Zhao Kuangyin. Zhao Kuangyin launched the Chenqiao mutiny, the soldiers offered the yellow robe to Zhao, embraced as emperor. Thus, after the establishment of the Northern Song Dynasty, the yellow robe officially became a symbol of imperial power, yellow also became the emperor’s special. At that time to see the yellow is not we now so bright yellow, but ochre yellow. But only ochre yellow is the emperor’s imperial use, other yellow can still be used.
02 – Colorful natural yellow
Smoke tree (黄栌) is the most important traditional plant for dyeing yellow, seemingly red on the surface, the actual heartwood is apparently yellow, in the “Tiangong Kaiwu” there are records of the use of sumac dyeing methods, such as directly thin dye, can produce ivory color; in boiling water after adding mordant such as hemp draft ash, can produce golden yellow; boil water after adding indigo, can produce black; ochre yellow is not mentioned in detail, but we guess that may also be added to other dyes to have such a color.
In fact, in China, there are many dyes that can dye natural yellow, in addition to the smoke tree, there are but not limited to Phellodendron wood, garcinia resin, turmeric rhizome, gardenia fruit, etc.
Before Zhao Kuangyin, the status of yellow was not so high, and after that it became the imperial color, to the back of the refining and dyeing methods more and more, the Qing Dynasty has a bright yellow as the imperial color, but also appeared in different shades of yellow that we can see today.
03 – Fashion Color Application & Hanfu
How to wear Hanfu in a fashionable way? The color matching aspect is very important. It happens that yellow and gray are both relatively good matching colors, and you just need to adjust them according to different occasions and needs, and you can manage them very well.
Always, yellow and gray is a bunch of good partners. If it is to increase the grayscale of the Morandi yellow, the most insurance one, more applicable to many occasions. Both with the elegance of gray, but also not too bright.
In fact, as another good partner of yellow, denim blue is also very good, to enhance the contrast color on the visual impact of the sense. Both show stable and bright, but also do not lose the elegance of public occasions.
Yellow and gray are also used as a couple clothing color matching, can easily create a sense of fashion.
Yellow accessories, but also as the finishing touch, even some small details. But in short, in order to show the more texture, the less color or the better, more color can be used to show lively, less color is more suitable for conservative and high-end occasions.
Since ancient times, except for some requirements of the feudal society, there is no real sense of color advanced or not, only the difference between shades or warm and cold. In modern times, people may have been tired of over-saturated colors, aesthetic requirements tend to calm and stable. And in this year, perhaps Illuminating & Ultimate Gray can bring people a positive change, let’s make 2021 better together.
Read more: Different color styles of Hanfu.
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