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  • Gordon Dumoulin

“Evil Purple seizing Red”....

“Evil Purple seizing Red” (恶紫之夺朱). Although purple has been a highly regarded color throughout Chinese history, this ancient saying from the Confucius Analects implied nobility (wearing purple, except for the Emperor wearing yellow) replacing responsibility of governing righteousness and virtues by selfish corruption of manner and morality. Virtues and righteousness reflected by red, more specifically 朱砂红 (cinnabar red or vermilion), China red.


While writing this, it pops up in my mind that this ancient saying might be very actual today. 紫气东来 “Purple qi or air coming from the East” implies the arrival of something auspicious, sometimes reflecting mortality ascending to immortality. Today, purple is also a color of love.

Pay attention to colors when living or doing business in China. While yellow is the imperial color on one hand, a 'yellow' movie today implies of pornographic nature, unlike blue in the West. Green is good but don’t wear a green hat, it means having an unfaithful wife (unless you want people to know). In China’s stock markets, red means going up while green is bad, confusing for foreigners ! White stands for purity and beauty but is also linked to death while black is associated with water. #china #chinesesociety #chineseculture #crosscultural

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