What's the meaning of the Yellow (color) »

Yellow (color)

This page is about the meaning, origin and characteristic of the symbol, emblem, seal, sign, logo or flag: Yellow (color).

Yellow (color)

The symbolism of the color yellow.

When one thinks of yellow, probably the first thing that comes to mind is the sun. While that celestial body has a wealth of symbolism on its own, its color is important in other ways: The heat and light that the sun provides allows for the flourishing of life, so the color yellow is representative of all these things. As one of the brightest colors in the spectrum, yellow is a choice color for all manner of warning and quarantine signs, being easy to spot amidst chaos and other surroundings:


BHUTAN: Traditional Bhutanese men's clothing - known as the gho - is sometimes accessorized with a long silk scarf called a kabney. The kabney comes in a variety of colors, and national law stipulates which colors can be worn by individuals, depending on his profession and position in society. A yellow or saffron-colored kabney may be worn only by two men; the King of Bhutan and the Je Khenpo, or chief abbot.

CHINA: one of the earliest places of human settlement and civilization in China was along the banks of the Huang He, or Yellow River. This area was made agriculturally productive by the deposits of rich yellow silt (known as ‘loess’) blown in from the north and west. Ever since then, yellow has been symbolic of fertility in China, both in the agricultural sense and in terms of humans - in addition to red, yellow was also worn by Chinese brides. In the Chinese system of the cardinal directions, yellow is associated with the element of earth and is placed in the center of the compass, where all the directions come together. This has often been interpreted as representing China itself, which was referred to as the ‘Middle Kingdom’ by its ancient inhabitants. Most significantly, yellow symbolizes imperial power; until fairly recently, the emperor was the only person allowed to publicly wear the color, and the golden or yellow dragon was one of his personal devices (the dragon being perhaps the most iconic emblem of Chinese culture).

CHRISTIANITY: To many Christians, yellow is a symbol of betrayal, treachery, and cowardice. This interpretation comes from the story of Judas Iscariot, who wrapped Jesus in his yellow cloak and kissed him right before betraying him to the Romans. Even today, calling someone “yellow” or "yellow-bellied" indicates a lack of bravery.

INDIA: in Hinduism and Buddhism, yellow is the color of the Solar Plexus or Manipura Chakra, one of seven energetic points situated along the body. Located in the stomach, this chakra regulates aspects of the metabolic and digestive systems and is related to emotions such as anxiety, fear, and sense of personal power. The yellow or saffron-colored robes of many Buddhist monks and nuns are a symbol of renunciation and humility. Turmeric powder, a yellow-colored spice popular in many Asian cuisines, is associated in India with prosperity and fertility. In those capacities, it is often used in Hindu religious ceremonies, scattered over idols of deities and crowds of worshipers as a form of blessing. At wedding ceremonies, the bride may be adorned with pigment made from yellow turmeric as a symbol of good luck.

EUROPE: one of the most distinctive traditions of the European Middle Ages is heraldry, the practice of using combinations of symbols to identify individuals, families, and clans. The combinations of symbols and images can vary infinitely within this tradition, but a number of standard colors, known as tinctures, are key features of many crests and coats-of-arms. In many descriptions, yellow referred to as “or”, meaning gold (from the Latin ‘aurum’), but there is usually no visual distinction between the two colors. In the context of heraldry, yellow symbolizes virtues such as wisdom, glory, constancy, and faith.

In addition to Medieval heraldry, there is another period of European history where the color yellow took on a powerful symbolic meaning, albeit in a completely different context. During World War II, many Jewish citizens throughout the continent were forced by the Nazi regime to wear the now-famous badge shaped like a yellow Star of David to identify themselves to others. In this context, yellow can be seen as a color symbolizing oppression for Europe’s Jews, but the practice itself was not exactly novel in the 20th century. Going back to the Middle Ages for a moment, in the year 1215 the Fourth Lateran Council decreed that Jews wear specific clothing to distinguish themselves from Christians and Saracens (Muslims), and later in the century this expanded to include the wearing of a yellow badge, essentially as a mark of shame. Although distinguishing articles of clothing and the color yellow had been forced onto the Jews in this context before, the council of 1215 began a stricter enforcement of the practice.

Graphical characteristics:
Symmetric, Closed shape, Colorful, Contains straight lines, Has no crossing lines.

Category: Miscellaneous.

Yellow (color) is part of the Colors group.

More symbols in Colors:

We all see colors in our everyday lives, no matter where we live or where we look. While certain colors are often associated specific things, the colors themselves- including individual shades- typic… read more »

More symbols in Miscellaneous:

Symbols without any special category attribution but that are widely used worldwide. read more »

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"Yellow (color)." Symbols.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 23 Oct. 2017. <http://www.symbols.com/symbol/yellow-%28color%29>.

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