The Japanese Nature of Describing the Colour of Things


The Japanese Nature of Describing the Colour of Things

Yasuko Hiraoka Myer Room, Level 1
Sidney Myer Asia Centre


Booking not required

In the early 7th century, Prince Shōtoku established the first colour ranking system used to determine the hierarchy of colours worn in court society. Beyond this ancient court scheme the complex framework for describing colour in Japan is still used today, especially within the arts and crafts, textiles and literature.

This talk will explore some of the traditional approaches to describing colour and the continued use of this vocabulary in everyday life. Colour perception and the classification and naming of terms over time ultimately contribute to a unique cultural imagination. Taking the time to observe and describe the colours of any work of art creates the potential for an increasingly sophisticated and complex understanding of cultural difference. There are equally unexplored possibilities for mining the cultural richness which Japanese colour terminology offers through object based learning models.

This will be the third talk in the Asia Institute's Inagaki seminar series marking the Centenary of Japanese Language teaching.

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