The Changing Definition of Colors

The Changing Definition of Colors
The question seems simple enough, “what is the color of this girl’s sash?” It’s surprising to find out that the answer given now would differ wildly from the one given when it was originally painted. Now: pink. Then: yellow! And it seems that our definition of certain colors have changed through history.

Many ancient cultures didn’t have a working vocabulary for the color blue. Names for the colors, as we know them today, rolled out slowly. Black and white came first, and then red, yellow, and green. Blue was often used as a subset of green, instead of a different color altogether. While the sky, to ancient Greek eyes, might be lit up by the sun and turned to a golden bronze color, it would not be considered ‘green’. And a darkened sea might look closer to wine than to a color associated with grass.

Via io9

One response

  1. So does this mean that we now apply different labels to the same sensation or were the sensations themselves something different?

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