Discovering the Meaning of Blue in China: What Does Blue Symbolize in China?

What does blue symbolize in China? Blue might not be the first color that comes to mind when you think of China, but this cool hue holds a lot of significance in the country’s culture. For the Chinese, blue represents many things, including immortality, prosperity, and transcendence. Interestingly, blue has played an important role in Chinese society since ancient times, and it continues to evoke powerful emotions even today.

Throughout China’s history, different shades of blue have held different meanings in the eyes of the people. For instance, the bright cobalt blue shade known as ‘qing’ was associated with royalty and nobility, while the deeper navy blue color was more commonly used to represent common people. Blue also has a strong connection to water in Chinese culture, which is not surprising given the importance of river systems in the country’s history. Many traditional Chinese paintings portray water in shades of blue and green, or depict nature scenes with these colors prevalent.

So, whether you’re exploring Chinese art, attending a wedding ceremony, or simply walking through the streets of a bustling Chinese city, keep an eye out for this captivating color. From its various shades to its historical significance, there’s no denying that blue is an integral part of Chinese culture. So the next time you spot something blue in China, take a moment to appreciate the deeper meanings and symbolism behind this captivating color.

The Significance of Blue in Chinese Culture

Blue is an important color in Chinese culture, carrying both positive and negative meanings. Here are some of the key aspects of blue’s cultural significance in China:

  • Heavenly color: Blue has traditionally been associated with the sky and heavenly realms. In Chinese religious and philosophical thought, heaven is often depicted as blue. This association gives blue a divine, spiritual quality.
  • Pure and noble: Blue is also seen as a pure and noble color in China, representing integrity and dignity. This is perhaps due to its association with heaven and the divine.
  • Sorrow and grief: On the other hand, blue can also represent sorrow and grief. This is because the term for blue (蓝, lán) is similar in pronunciation to the term for “a family member’s death” (烂, làn). As a result, some people believe that wearing blue or seeing the color can bring bad luck or harm.

Overall, blue is a complex and multifaceted color in Chinese culture. It carries both positive and negative meanings, and its symbolism is deeply rooted in religious, philosophical, and linguistic traditions.

Blue in Chinese Art and Literature

Blue has always been a significant color in Chinese art and literature. It has been associated with nature and considered a representation of heaven and immortality.

  • In Chinese poetry, blue is often used to describe the sky, which is considered the symbol of eternity and purity. Poets would often use phrases like “blue sky” or “azure clouds” to express the beauty and vastness of the sky.
  • Blue is also a popular color in Chinese porcelain and pottery. Blue and white porcelain became popular in the 14th century, during the Ming Dynasty. The blue color was made using cobalt oxide, which was imported from Persia. Today, blue and white porcelain is still a popular decorative item in Chinese homes and it is considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
  • The Chinese believe that the dragon, which is a symbol of power and strength, lives in the blue sky. They often depict the dragon with blue scales and a blue body.

In Chinese art, the color blue is often used to represent a sense of peace and calmness. It is believed that blue has a calming effect on the mind and body.

Here is a table that lists some of the most commonly used shades of blue in Chinese art and their meanings:

Shade of Blue Meaning
Qing (Light Blue) Tranquility, calmness, purity
Lan (Dark Blue) Strength, dignity, stability
Cang (Deep Blue) Depth, mystery, vastness

The colors used in Chinese art and literature often carry a deeper meaning than just their visual representation. Each shade of blue has a unique significance and can express a range of different emotions, beliefs, and ideas.

Blue in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Colors hold a significant place in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Each color represents a specific element and corresponds to various parts of the body. Blue is one such color that is linked with the liver in Chinese Medicine. It holds remarkable importance in Traditional Chinese Medicine due to its association with the liver meridian.

  • Liver Meridian: The liver meridian is one of the twelve meridians in the body that carries energy throughout the body. The liver meridian is responsible for the proper functioning of the whole body. It is responsible for balancing the emotions, regulating foreign substances and hormone production.
  • Blue in Liver Diseases: In Chinese Medicine, liver diseases are associated with a specific shade of blue color. Therefore, when a patient is suffering from a liver problem, their appearance may reflect a blue tinge. Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that blue represents the deficiency in liver blood and blood stasis.
  • Healing Properties: Blue-colored foods are considered beneficial for liver health in Chinese Medicine. Blueberries and blackberries are considered part of the blue color group and are thought to be good for the overall health of the liver. They help reduce inflammation and protect the liver from damage.

Blue is also associated with the water element in Chinese Medicine, which regulates the kidney. Blue stones, especially aquamarine and blue sapphire, are believed to possess healing properties to cure kidney disorders.

If you are looking for a natural way to improve your liver health in traditional Chinese medicine, then incorporating blue-colored foods into your diet can be a good decision. However, it is best to consult a Chinese Medicine practitioner before starting any new treatment.

Element Color Meridian
Wood Green Liver
Fire Red Heart
Earth Yellow Spleen
Metal White Lungs
Water Blue Kidney

Colors in Traditional Chinese Medicine represent the essence of life and its energies. Blue’s significance lies in its association with the liver and the water element. Incorporating blue-colored foods into your diet can promote liver health and help fight against liver diseases.

Blue in Chinese Food and Cuisine

Color symbolism plays a significant role in Chinese culture, including their food and cuisine. While red is the traditional color of celebration and luck, blue also holds symbolic meaning in Chinese cuisine.

  • Health and Healing – Blue foods such as blueberries, blackberries, and grapes are believed to promote healing and boost the immune system in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Fertility and Prosperity – Lobster, a prized delicacy in Chinese cuisine, is often associated with the color blue and is believed to bring fertility and prosperity to those who consume it.
  • Tranquility and Relaxation – The blue-green algae spirulina is a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine and is considered to have calming effects on the body, helping to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Additionally, blue and white porcelain, known as Qinghua or Blue and White, is a sought-after type of Chinese pottery. The color blue in this context represents purity, and the pottery is often decorated with intricate blue designs that symbolize good fortune and prosperity.

In summary, blue in Chinese food and cuisine symbolizes health, healing, fertility, prosperity, tranquility, and relaxation. Whether it be through the consumption of blue foods or the use of blue and white porcelain in traditional ceremonies, the color blue holds a special place in Chinese culture and cuisine.

Blue Foods Meaning in Chinese Culture
Blueberries Promote healing and boost immunity
Grapes Believed to bring good health and longevity
Lobster Associated with fertility and prosperity
Spirulina Thought to promote relaxation and reduce stress

Table: Examples of Blue Foods and Their Symbolic Meanings in Chinese Culture

Blue in Chinese Clothing and Fashion

Blue is a significant color in Chinese culture, and it has represented different things throughout history. In fashion, blue has taken on various meanings and uses in Chinese clothing, from representing the nobility to symbolizing the working class. Here are some of the ways blue is used in Chinese clothing and fashion:

  • Historically, blue was the color of the nobility. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), blue was worn by members of the royal family and high-ranking officials. The color was made from lapis lazuli, which was imported from Central Asia. The deep blue hue was associated with luxury and wealth. Even today, the phrase “qing zhuang,” meaning “blue attire,” refers to formal attire for important events or ceremonies.
  • Blue represents the working class. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE), blue dye was used on textiles for the first time. The color was obtained from the indigo plant, which was widely cultivated in China. Indigo-dyed cotton became popular among the working class, as it was durable and resistant to fading. In some regions of China, blue-dyed robes are still worn by farmers and laborers.
  • Blue has spiritual connotations. In Taoism, blue is associated with the element of water, which represents tranquility and purity. Blue-colored robes are worn by Taoist priests during ceremonies and rituals. Blue is also used in Feng Shui, the Chinese practice of arranging living spaces to create balance and harmony. In Feng Shui, blue is believed to have a calming effect and is used to bring a sense of serenity to a room.

Today, blue continues to be a popular color in Chinese fashion. It is often used as an accent color, paired with red or gold for a traditional look, or with white and black for a more modern and trendy aesthetic. Blue is also used in the design of accessories such as scarves, handbags, and shoes.

Below is a table showing some of the shades of blue commonly used in Chinese fashion:

Shade of Blue Meaning
Cobalt Blue Representative of ancient royalty and luxury
Indigo Blue A popular color for traditional clothing among the common people
Turquoise Blue Said to symbolize luck and good fortune
Cerulean Blue Modern and popular color in Chinese fashion today

Whether used to represent wealth and luxury or the working class, blue remains a meaningful and significant color in Chinese clothing and fashion. It continues to evolve, with new hues and designs being created every year.

Blue in Chinese Architecture

Blue is a color that has played a significant role in Chinese architecture for centuries. It is seen as a symbol of stability, integrity, and peace. By incorporating blue into their buildings, the Chinese architects were able to express a wide range of cultural expressions and emotions in a palpable manner.

  • Traditionally, blue roof tiles were used to cover the roofs of important buildings in China. These tiles were meant to signify a connection between heaven and earth and were reserved for institutions and temples of great significance. The blue-green of these tiles is created by applying a glaze made from copper oxide to them before they are fired. The beauty and uniqueness of this glaze often make Chinese buildings some of the most distinguishably blue structures in the world.
  • Blue paint on walls is a common feature in many Chinese homes and other structures. The color is used to create a sense of calmness, tranquility, and relaxation in these buildings. In addition, it is believed to ward off evil spirits and signal good luck and fortune.
  • Blue porcelain tile was a popular material used in the construction of important Chinese buildings. These tiles usually had illustrations that were deep blue or navy in color. The blue symbolizes purity, righteousness, and loyalty. The use of blue porcelain tiles is one of the most striking features of traditional Chinese architecture.

The incorporation of blue into Chinese architecture is a striking and captivating feature. It reminds us of the great cultural and historic significance of China as a nation and people. The color blue is a critical component in Chinese architecture for its ability to convey meaning, emotions, and concepts to visitors in a subtle yet powerful way.

Blue roofs, walls, and porcelain tiles are just some of the ways in which Chinese architects have used this color to enhance their structures. The use of blue in architecture is just one of the many fascinating elements of Chinese culture that have survived the test of time and continue to leave their imprint on the world today.

Symbolism of Blue in Chinese Architecture Represents
Blue Roof Tiles Connection Between Heaven and Earth, Significance
Blue Paint on Walls Calmness, Tranquility, Relaxation, Good Luck and Fortune
Blue Porcelain Tile Purity, Righteousness, Loyalty

As is evident, Blue is a color deeply embedded in the psyche and culture of the Chinese people. It is a prominent feature in Chinese architecture and has been so for centuries. No wonder, China is home to some of the most stunning and architecturally splendid blue-hued edifices in the world.

Blue in Chinese Mythology and Folklore

In Chinese culture, blue represents immortality and eternal youth, as well as divinity and perfection. The color blue is also commonly associated with water, as it embodies the fluidity and purity of this life-giving element.

  • The Number 7: Seven is a mystical number in Chinese mythology, as it symbolizes completeness and perfection. According to legend, the Big Dipper consists of seven stars, with each star representing a deity that governs a particular aspect of life. In addition, the seven colors of the rainbow are often associated with the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, seven scholars who sought to escape the corruption of the government during the Han Dynasty.

Blue was also a popular color in Chinese art, as it was believed to represent the heavens and the divine. Blue glazes were used to decorate pottery and porcelain, and blue ink was used to write calligraphy, which was considered a highly esteemed art form. Many paintings depicted landscapes with blue mountains and blue skies, signifying the beauty and purity of nature.

In Chinese folklore, blue dragons are seen as symbols of power and good fortune. They are thought to bring rain and control the waters, and were often depicted on ceramics and in paintings. The Blue Dragon is also one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations, representing the east and the spring season.

Overall, blue plays an important role in Chinese mythology and folklore, with its various meanings and symbolism intertwined with nature, divinity, and perfection.

Symbolism of Blue in Chinese Culture Description
Water Represents fluidity and purity of life-giving element
Heavens Symbolizes the divine and perfection
Immortality Represents eternal youth and long life
Completeness Seven is a mystical number in Chinese mythology, representing completeness and perfection
Good Fortune Blue dragons are seen as symbols of power and good fortune

Blue in Chinese Zodiac Signs

In Chinese culture, blue is associated with the element of water and is often used to symbolize depth and stability. The color is also linked with the emotion of sadness and is associated with the season of winter.

The Number 8

The number 8 is considered lucky in Chinese culture, and it is often associated with wealth and success. This belief is so strong that many Chinese people will pay a premium to have the number 8 included in their phone numbers, license plates, and even street addresses.

  • The number 8 is significant in the Chinese Zodiac as well.
  • People born in the years of the Sheep, Monkey, and Rooster are said to have a strong affinity for the number 8.
  • In Chinese astrology, the number 8 is also believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who are born under the signs of the Monkey and the Rat.

Overall, the number 8 is considered one of the luckiest numbers in Chinese culture, and it is often associated with wealth and prosperity.

Blue in Chinese Art and Architecture

Blue is a popular color in Chinese art, and it is often used in landscapes and portraits to symbolize tranquility and depth.

One example of the use of blue in Chinese architecture is the Forbidden City in Beijing. The blue roof tiles on the buildings of the Forbidden City are made from glazed ceramic and are said to represent the color of the sky.

Blue is also used in traditional Chinese porcelain, where it is often combined with white to create intricate designs and patterns.

Blue in Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, blue is associated with the liver and gallbladder meridians. These meridians are said to be responsible for regulating digestion and detoxification in the body.

Body Part Meridian
Head and Neck Gallbladder Meridian
Chest and Abdomen Liver Meridian
Arms and Legs Liver and Gallbladder Meridians

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine believe that using the color blue in treatment or therapy can help to balance and strengthen the liver and gallbladder meridians, promoting better overall health and wellbeing.

Overall, blue is an important color in Chinese culture, and it is associated with a variety of meanings and beliefs. Whether it is used to symbolize wealth and success, tranquility and depth, or balance and healing, blue remains a significant color in Chinese art, architecture, and medicine.

Blue in Chinese Festivals and Celebrations

The color blue holds a significant meaning in Chinese culture and is a popular color used in festivities and celebrations. It represents the sky and ocean, symbolizing growth, harmony, and calmness. Let’s take a closer look at what blue symbolizes during these important occasions.

The Number 9

In Chinese culture, the number 9 is considered the most auspicious number and is associated with the element of fire. Why does this matter in relation to the color blue, you may ask? It’s because blue is also linked to fire in Chinese astrology. When used together, blue and the number 9 are believed to bring good luck and prosperity. This is why many Chinese celebrations, including weddings and business openings, often incorporate blue and the number 9 as a way to enhance their good fortunes.

Blue in Chinese Festivals and Celebrations

  • The Winter Solstice: This festival marks the day with the longest night and the shortest day, and blue is the primary color used in decorations and clothing.
  • Chinese New Year: Blue is often used in traditional Chinese lanterns, which are adorned with the animal of the zodiac sign for the upcoming year.
  • Qingming Festival: This festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, is when families pay respect to their ancestors. Blue and white are the colors used in traditional clothing and flowers to symbolize purity and peace.

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and is often associated with the color blue. Blue dragon boats can be seen on rivers and lakes, and blue clothing is worn to celebrate the occasion. The blue color symbolizes the water that the dragon boats race on, and the event is believed to bring luck and drive away evil spirits.

The Double Ninth Festival

The Double Ninth Festival, also known as the Chongyang Festival, is celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. Blue is the primary color used in decorations, and many people climb mountains or hills on this day to admire the scenery. This festival is also known as the Senior Citizens Day and is a way to pay respects to the elderly in Chinese culture.

Festival/Event Chinese Name Date Color(s) Used
Winter Solstice Dongzhi Festival December 21st-23rd Blue
Chinese New Year Spring Festival Late January to mid-February Blue (in lanterns)
Qingming Festival Tomb Sweeping Day April 4th or 5th Blue and white
Dragon Boat Festival Duanwu Festival 5th day of 5th lunar month Blue (on dragon boats and clothing)
Double Ninth Festival Chongyang Festival Ninth day of ninth lunar month Blue

In conclusion, the color blue holds a significant meaning in Chinese culture and is often used as a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and harmony in Chinese festivals and celebrations. Incorporating blue in these events is a way to enhance the positive energy and bring joy to the crowd.

Blue in Chinese Symbolism and Meanings

Blue is a popular color in China, and its symbolism and meanings are deeply rooted in Chinese culture.

One significant aspect of blue in Chinese culture is its association with immortality and the heavens. The sky and the sea are both seen as sources of life, purity, and transcendence. Blue is often used in art and literature to represent the sky, and it is often depicted as a symbol of the divine or the supernatural.

  • In Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor, the supreme deity, is depicted in blue robes.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver, associated with the color blue, is considered to be the source of energy and vitality.
  • The Blue Dragon, one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations, is associated with the season of spring and represents the power of the east and the wood element.

Another important aspect of the color blue in Chinese culture is its association with the number 10. In Chinese numerology, the number 10 is believed to represent perfection, completeness, and unity, and it is often associated with the heavens.

Symbolism Meaning
10 Heavenly Stems The 10 Heavenly Stems represent a cycle of 10 elements used in Chinese astrology and the Chinese calendar.
The 10 Sun Rays in the National Emblem of the People’s Republic of China The 10 sun rays symbolize the 10 major ethnic groups of China.
10,000 Things In Taoist philosophy, the number 10,000 represents infinity and the limitless potential of the universe.

In summary, blue is a significant color in Chinese culture, representing the divine and the supernatural, the liver and vitality, and the perfection and unity represented by the number 10.

FAQs: What Does Blue Symbolize in China?

1. What is the importance of the color blue in Chinese culture?
Blue is considered as one of the highly significant colors in China. It represents a variety of meanings, including purity, immortality, and stability.

2. Is there a specific shade of blue that holds more meaning in Chinese symbolism?
Yes, the shade of blue-green, which is known as Qing in Chinese, is particularly meaningful. It signifies self-cultivation, growth, and development.

3. What are some common instances where the color blue is used in Chinese symbolism?
Blue is often used to represent the heavens or the skies in Chinese art and literature. It is also associated with the water element and is used to balance yang energy.

4. What other symbolic meanings are associated with the color blue in China?
Blue is also connected to the Dragon, which is a powerful symbol of imperial authority and good fortune. It is also linked with the Blue Bird, which is believed to bring happiness and fulfillment.

5. Are there any traditional rituals or practices where blue is important?
In traditional Chinese weddings, the bride would wear a blue dress as it is considered to represent fidelity and purity. Blue and red are also commonly used in traditional Chinese lanterns.

6. How does the color blue compare to other colors in Chinese symbolism?
Blue is often paired with other colors like gold, red, and yellow. Together, they represent the five elements of earth, wood, fire, water, and metal.

7. Is blue considered a lucky color in Chinese culture?
Yes, blue is generally regarded as a lucky color as it is associated with good health, prosperity, and success.

A Closing Note…

Thank you for taking the time to read about what blue symbolizes in China. It is evident that this color holds deep cultural and symbolic meaning, and its use can be seen in various aspects of Chinese life and art. We hope you found this information informative and engaging. Stay tuned for more insightful articles exploring different cultural aspects of China and its people.
Thanks for reading!