Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Yaba Amgborale Blay
Color symbolism is especially important in Africa, not just in terms of art or aesthetics, but in relation to traditional spirituality and spiritual practices. Unlike more recent Western esoteric analyses that acknowledge the ability of particular colors to elicit specific emotional responses, within most African conceptualizations, colors are reflective of specific life forces and, as such, are often relied on and furthermore utilized in the manipulation of cosmic energy. The use of particular colors in certain situations for specific purposes is believed to release their intrinsic powers. Thus, extreme care is taken to use and wear, as well as avoid, particular colors on ritual occasions. Throughout the Diaspora, the importance of color symbolism can be witnessed through the representations of various deities and the subsequent ritual practices of their devotees. In Yoruba, Obatala, the oldest of the orisa responsible for literally shaping human form, is considered the “King of White ...