>Words from Michael Taussig’s What Color is the Sacred?

August 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

>This is what lies behind Goethe’s early nineteenth-century observation that primitives, kids, and southern European women love vivid color – because color is something that gathers together all that is otherwise inarticulate and powerful in the bouquet of imagery and gamut of feelings brought to mind by the “Orient,” meaning that impassioned Othering at the heart of colonization with its undertones of the faraway, adventure, and the tropics. And how fascinating and instructive that while Goethe emphasized the black and white in the Europe in which he lived, it was the love of blues and reds, greens and yellows, that, along with condiments, animated Europe’s aristocracy in earlier years, this blue that is also black and purple, became the color that supplanted color when, beginning in the fourteenth century, the aristocracy (male and female) used indigo to have their clothes dyed deep black in a widespread process of European decoloration in both Catholic and Protestant countries. (Taussig 155)


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