Ink Black in Chinese Culture
Updated: Jan 3, 2019
In ancient China, ink black was considered as representative of the sky, the most mysterious and honorable place. Therefore, it had been the most noble color for thousands of years in history of China and was widely used in important ceremonies and royal etiquette.
The ancestor of Shang Dynasty (1600 B. C. — 1046 B. C.) was believed ancestor of a mythical ink black bird, since when black was the color that kings would wear and use. Until Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.— 207 B.C.), ink black was still the most honorable color for royals.
The great philosopher Lao Tzu, the writer of Tao Te Ching and founder of Taoism in Chinese culture, was a worshiper of color black and white. He believed that ink black was the color of the Dao (or the Tao), from which all the other colors generated. Therefore, black and white are the main colors of Tai Ji which represents harmony of Yin and Yang.
The highly praise to simple, placid and neat in Taoism ideology, then significantly influenced art in the history of China, the most obvious one is the Chinese brush painting. Many exceptional artists built a special and fantastic world, using only ink and water.