Useful article on the colour red, its meanings, development of different shades and uses through art history.
‘Fun fact: In Medieval times, synthetic vermilion was as costly as gold leaf. Thus it was used only for the most important aspects of illuminated manuscripts, while less costly red lead was used for red letters within the text.’
From an interesting article promoting the exhibition “Blue: Alchemy of a Colour”, currently showing at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne, examining Asian and European works of art employing the colour blue from the 7th century AD to the present:
‘The ubiquity of indigo dye has resulted in blue becoming the colour of the everyday clothes of the working class in Europe and Asia. But predominantly blue textiles and garments are also some of the most prestigious textiles, imparting status to the wearer and worn on important ritual occasions.
Their prestige may be signified by the of valuable materials such as gold and beads, the incorporation of extra colours, patterns and techniques, or special finishes.
In China the colour blue generally signifies the natural world, springtime, youth and immortality. The emperor wore a blue court garment at annual ceremonies associated with the heavens and crops, and indigo blue was the most common ground colour of Manchu clothing during the Qing dynasty (1644–1912AD).’