Intercultural Communications 9

The power of seeing the colours and distinguishing them has changed people lives and their beliefs. During the history it caused people discovering more colours and bring them into their handicrafts, religion, science and many other aspects. Human beings have been always curious and creative, so they started creating colours, one of these colours which has a strong connection with my childhood and identity is Persian blue. 

The color of Persian blue is a representation of the color of lapis lazuli which has been mined in Iran and Afghanistan since ancient times. The scarcity of the blue mineral lapis lazuli drove the earliest adopters to seek new ways of producing blue through chemistry. Because it was a rare and expensive mineral to acquire up until the dawn of the Industrial Age, it’s often associated with royalty and divinity, which is partly why it is widely a favourite color today. Blue can have a variety of meanings and symbolize a diverse range of ideals depending upon a culture’s beliefs. Largely, the color blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It is believed that it slows human metabolism, which produces a calming effect. Light blue is associated with health, healing, and tranquility while dark blue represents a more powerful, serious, but sometimes melancholic nature.

Starry Night, Van Gogh

One of the most famous examples of using blue colour in the European arts, is the Starry night by Van Gogh. This works represents a melancholic and mysterious night. The most important point is that the blue is showing the sky and the relationship that the artist build with this meanings. As a contrast, there is a roof of a famous mosque in Iran, Masjed Shah, which has been also designed with blue color, but it shows the melancholy of the sky in a different way using abstract forms as well. This ceiling is also mentioning the sky however in a different way.

Mosque Shah, Isfahan, Iran
Goharshad Mosque, Mashhad, Iran

Blue has mostly the meaning of innocence and heaven in Iranian culture. The roof of mosques are mostly made from mosaics with blue color. As contrast for example in English language people say you seem blue, which means feeling sad or melancholic. I suppose, middle eastern people are also a little bit melancholic but in a different way, specially in iran, literature and poetry have melancholic meanings that could be connected with happiness as well as sadness and being away from the lover. 

There is another art in Iran, which is very similar with architecture and using blue color, this art is more than 2500 years old and is called as Minakari. Minakara is about adding details and designing mugs, plates and jewelleries. It found its way during the Byzantine Empire through Europe.