The History of the Color Red
There are few things in life that provoke such a wide array of reactions as the color red. For centuries it has been the symbol of danger, power and influence, as well as love and passion. Let’s examine how red became the most passionate color in the color wheel:
1) Red throughout history
Red is the oldest color replicated by humans. It was the first color used as paint for prehistoric cave depictions of animals and the third color adopted into ancient languages as an adjective. The color can be found throughout the ancient world for decorations, clothing, makeup, and jewelry.
Even as early as 13thcentury BCE red beads were worn as a tribute to the Egyptian goddess of love and joy, Hathor, who was often depicted in hieroglyphics wearing a red dress. It has been a symbol of luxury since the time of the Romans and Greeks due to the expensive dyes required to create the hue. Conversely, in modern Asian cultures red symbolizes luck or purity and is often still worn by brides on their wedding day.
2) Physical reaction to red
The color red has been found to have several effects on the human body. First, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, red enhanced the physical attractiveness of a woman to a man and vice versa, but not between women, or the men’s overall impression of the women’s personality. Secondly, a follow up study concluded that women were considered by both genders to be more approachable and have a warmer personality when wearing red.
Most recently, studies have also found that the color has the ability to increase a person’s heart rate, even when asked to complete mundane tasks. The combination of attractiveness, approachability, and a rush of excitement are the perfect foundation for the color’s association with lust, so it’s only natural that we humans even turn a shade of red when we are blushing.
3) How red became the color of love
Due to the vibrancy of the color, it has evolved into representing confidence, stimulation, excitement, and energy. All of these traits are the foundation for passion, lust, and love. By wearing the color red, we are choosing to send a subconscious signal to our sweethearts or potential partners that we are open to love and engagement.
Across cultures throughout the world, red is a universal symbol of love. It has the power to incite passionate responses, and enable the wearer to appear confident, powerful, and energetic. Red is a bold choice meant to project bold emotions.
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