Chinese Tradition

As far as tradition in China is concerned, there is no such thing as a colour system as a Western dictionary would define it. In the Western world, Aristotle, for example, had attempted to find a harmony of colours. The Chinese strove toward similar interpretations, and between the 4th and 2nd century oriented themselves on the same pentatonic scale that dominated their music. Accordingly, they accepted that in its entirety colour harmony comprised five basic colours: the four cardinal points are defined by red in the south, standing for summer and fowls and poultry; green lies to the east and represents spring, wood and the dragon; black is to the north and stands for winter, water and the tortoise; white is placed in the west and represents autumn and the tiger. Yellow, on the other hand, is allocated a special place and is therefore discussed in more detail. (Detailed text)

Date: Uncertain

Bibliography: J. Needham, «Science and Civilisation in China», Cambridge University Press; Collin A. Ronan, «The shorter Science and Civilisation in China», Cambridge University Press, from 1978; Institut für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften der Chinesischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, «Wissenschaft und Technik im alten China», Birkhäuser, Basel 1989.