The wonder of colors in Chinese culture!

colors in chinese culture

Colors can be a good link between our knowledge and the culture of a country. In fact, every culture gives a special symbolic meaning to different colors. So knowing the meaning of the colors of a culture makes us more familiar with it. The same is true of Chinese culture.

China is a country with a rich heritage and culture. Color is so important to the Chinese that they use their symbolic colors in festivals and even in business.

But what do colors mean in Chinese culture?  Join me to get an answer to step in China!

Chinese colors symbolism

In Chinese customs and culture, the theory of the five elements plays a very important role. They have also symbolized colors based on the same theory. In fact, the 5 colors that correspond to the 5 elements of this theory are the most popular Chinese colors.

Let’s get acquainted with these popular Chinese colors:

1. Black Symbolism in Chinese Culture: Water

Like me, you must have expected that the color that represents the element of water is blue, but in Chinese culture, the color black represents the element of water.

The north direction is also with this color. To represent winter, black is also a good choice in Chinese culture.

black vase on a chinese handwritten book on a table

2. Yellow Symbolism in Chinese Culture: Earth

There is a yellow color to indicate the earth element in Chinese culture. Because this color shows the central direction. And it usually shows summer, but it may change.

yellow cat sculpture on a girl's hand on a pink background

3. Red Symbolism in Chinese Culture: Fire

As expected, red represents the element of fire.  Red also indicates the south direction. Most of them show the summer season with this color.

lots of red chinese balloons hanging on the ceiling

4. Blue symbolism in Chinese culture: wood

It may seem strange to you that blue is intended for the wood element. Because there is no similarity between the two, but it is true. In addition, blue is a symbol of spring. The east direction is also shown in blue.

blue tea bowls in cinese culture in a table

5. White Symbolism in Chinese Culture: Metal

Finally, it is white that represents the element of metal in Chinese culture. Autumn and the direction of the west is also one of the cases whose symbolism is white.

white cat statue on a dark background

Chinese colors meaning

Now that we are familiar with the symbolism of some Chinese colors. It is better to know the meaning of each of those colors and other Chinese colors:

Purple meaning in Chinese culture

In fact, in Western cultures, purple is a royal and aristocratic color. But in Chinese culture, purple means immortality and divinity.

The Chinese also use this color to show love and romance. Unlike red, which is known elsewhere as the color of love.

the wall and door of a purple house

Blue meaning in Chinese culture

Blue in Chinese culture represents healing, trust, serenity, immortality and progress. And they usually use this color in businesses.

blue miniature flowers

Red meaning in Chinese culture

The most popular and auspicious color in Chinese culture is red. Besides, it represents happiness, joy, cheerfulness, celebration, fertility and luck.

Because the Chinese believe that red repels evil, they usually choose red as the color of bridal gowns.

washed cherries red

Green meaning in Chinese culture

Although in Western culture, green represents growth, harmony, and wealth, in China it represents something clean and unpolluted.

In fact, in Chinese culture, green is a symbol of organic things. For example, when milk is written on an envelope, green milk means that this milk is completely organic and without any unnatural substances.

But you have to be careful because green is also a symbol of infidelity in Chinese culture. So you should use this color with caution.

green creeping flowers on a green wall

Yellow meaning in Chinese culture

The color yellow in this culture represents prosperity, power and privilege. So you can guess that yellow is an imperial color. But in China today, the color yellow is used in publications for pornography.

lots of little yellow balls

Pink meaning in Chinese culture

To the Chinese, pink is close to red.  In fact, pink is a shade of red. So it can have all the meanings of red. Thus, pink is a symbol of happiness and repelling evil spirits.

two dandelion flowers in a glass bottle on a pink background

Gray meaning in Chinese culture

Gray is a symbol of humility, recklessness because in the past, ordinary people wore gray clothes.

But today, the Chinese use gray when they want to talk about uncomfortable, hot air or something gloomy.

gray rocks

Black meaning in Chinese culture

Black means great calamity, destruction, misery, suffering, sorrow and oppression in Chinese culture. For this reason, they do not use this color in weddings and even mourning.

the starry sky above the forest on a dark night

White meaning in Chinese culture

As a rule, white is used in the sense of purity. It is also associated with the meaning of death, so there is no doubt that the Chinese use this color in mourning and funeral ceremonies.

a photo of white feathers

Silver meaning in Chinese culture

Silver is part of the white family in Chinese culture. This color is a symbol of wealth and purity.

a piece of silver metal on the floor

Golden meaning in Chinese culture

Certainly the golden color in Chinese culture is a symbol of wealth. This color can be used, but you should know that excessive use of this color reduces the value of a product and makes it cheaper.

golden wreaths poured from a bottle on a pink background

Rainbow colors meaning in Chinese culture

The Chinese rarely use multiple colors together. Because in the past it was believed that if they saw a rainbow in the sky, it meant that the death of the emperor was near.

a rainbow in the sky on the top of a green plain

Lucky and unlucky colors in China

Because most Chinese people are highly superstitious. On the other hand, colors are especially important in their culture. So they believe that some colors bring good luck and some bad luck.

Lucky colors in Chinese culture

Red, yellow, green and gold are lucky colors for the Chinese. For this reason, the Chinese use red in most of their ceremonies, such as weddings or Chinese New Year.

two red and gold postcards written in Chinese letters on a reddish background with white and red artificial flowers

Yellow is also a color of Buddhism, and most Chinese Buddhists wear yellow. In addition, the palaces of the empire are yellow.

Also, most of the decorations of the ceremonies are golden. Above all, most bank and restaurant buildings are also green.

chinese restaurant with green lighting and billboards

Unlucky colors in Chinese culture

I explained a little while ago that both black and white colors in Chinese culture mean death, so they are unlucky colors, especially in Chinese New Year!

an old black building in china

Chinese dragon colors meaning

You must know that in Western culture, dragons are a symbol of evil, sinister and chaos. But in Eastern cultures, especially Chinese culture, the dragon is a symbol of prosperity, wisdom and aristocracy.

Here are the Chinese dragons and the meaning of their different colors:

•Red Chinese dragon

Because the Chinese believe that red brings happiness and good luck. The red dragon is also a symbol of joy, creativity and passion. In addition, the Chinese dragon represents the summer season and the south direction.

chinese red dragon doll hanging from a woman's hand

•• Yellow and golden Chinese dragons

The yellow dragon is one of the most respected and superior dragons. Because it represents an empire.

The golden dragon is also a symbol of wealth, possessions, wisdom and compassion. In Chinese New Year, the dragon dance begins with the arrival of a golden dragon.

••• Green and blue Chinese dragons

The blue and green dragon in China is a symbol of peace, growth, healing, rest and prosperity. These dragons are also for indicate the direction of the east.

•••• Black and white Chinese Dragons

The black dragon usually shows the winter and the north direction. But the white dragon shows autumn and the direction of the west.

The black dragon is a symbol of storm, so it can shows avenger. But the white dragon is a symbol of death.

The meaning of the color of Chinese coffins

In ancient China, coffins of the dead were used in different colors for different meanings. Follow me for a better understanding:

I) Black coffin in Chinese culture

The ancient Chinese made these black coffins for warriors who were killed on the battlefield, people who committed suicide or died prematurely for any reason.

II) White coffin in Chinese culture

Because the white beech from which these coffins are made is very rare, it is natural that this type of coffin was made by the Chinese for people of high rank.

III) Yellow coffin in Chinese culture

Making these coffins with yellow eucalyptus is very simple. So we can guess that this coffin is made for ordinary people.

IV) Red coffin in Chinese culture

If a coffin was to be made in ancient China for a revered person, a coffin would be made in red. In this way, the person expresses his feelings to the dead person.

V) Golden coffin in Chinese culture

Usually the coffin that is made for the emperors and the royal family is golden in color. Because color is very special and attracts attention and is also a symbol of wealth.

a photo of a replica of a golden coffin at a funeral in chinese culture carried by  people in white and blue

The last word

Colors are very important in Chinese culture. In this culture, almost everything is divided and used based on colors.

Understanding these helps us to fully understand a culture and start a business with full knowledge. A business that leads to success.

If you want, you can read complete information about the Chinese zodiac here!

I hope you enjoyed!

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It's Nazanin. For me who loves the rainbow after the rain. What could be more beautiful than writing about colors ?! Well, I'm here now, in Dopely, to share my writings about colors with you and take you with me to the world of colors!

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