By: Kevin Grace
It is a color that has both negative and positive connotations, is symbolic of mysticism, social rank, both high and low emotions, and of serenity and wisdom. Blue is a color that is a signifier of both Hell and purity, of luxury and dignity. There are as many interpretations of what “blue” symbolizes as there are cultures in the world.
And the symbolism of the color is the rationale behind an online exhibit created by Archives & Rare Books Library. Intended to highlight the spectrum of rare books in the collections, the selections show the cultural diversity over the ages of this particular color. Nineteen volumes are represented in the exhibit, with several examples from each of illustrations and bindings, ranging from a 15th century illuminated book of hours to early Qur’ans and Persian poetry. There are botanicals, fairy tales, Art Deco bindings, Asian drawing manuals, pochoir pattern books, and Turkish ebru marbled paper. Each indicates a specific use of blue that depends on religion, technology, or geographical heritage. Continue reading