An extract on #nofilterneeded
In China, the color black is associated with water, one of the five fundamental elements believed to compose all things; and with winter, cold, and the direction north, usually symbolized by a black tortoise. It is also associated with disorder, including the positive disorder which leads to change and new life. When the first Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang seized power from the Zhou Dynasty, he changed the Imperial color from red to black, saying that black extinguished red. Only when the Han Dynasty appeared in 206 BC was red restored as the imperial color.
The Chinese and Japanese character for black (kuro in Japanese), can, depending upon the context, also mean dark or evil.
In Japan, black is associated with mystery, the night, the unknown, the supernatural, the invisible and death. Combined with white, it can symbolize intuition.
In Japan in the 10th and 11th century, it was believed that wearing black could bring misfortune. It was worn at court by those who wanted to set themselves apart from the established powers or who had renounced material possessions.
In Japan black can also symbolize experience, as opposed to white, which symbolizes naivet. The black belt in martial arts symbolizes experience, while a white belt is worn by novices. Japanese men traditionally wear a black kimono with some white decoration on their wedding day.
In Indonesia black is associated with depth, the subterranean world, demons, disaster, and the left hand. When black is combined with white, however, it symbolizes harmony and equilibrium.
Black is frequently used as a color of power, law and authority. In many countries judges and magistrates wear black robes. That custom began in Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries. Jurists, magistrates and certain other court officials in France began to wear long black robes during the reign of Philip IV of France (12851314), and in England from the time of Edward I (12711307). The custom spread to the cities of Italy at about the same time, between 1300 and 1320. The robes of judges resembled those worn by the clergy, and represented the law and authority of the King, while those of the clergy represented the law of God and authority of the church.
Until the 20th century most police uniforms were black, until they were largely replaced by a less menacing blue in France, the U.S. and other countries. In the United States, police cars are frequently Black and white. The riot control units of the Basque Autonomous Police in Spain are known as beltzak ("blacks") after their uniform.
Black today is the most common color for limousines and the official cars of government officials.
Black evening dress is still worn at many solemn occasions or ceremonies, from graduations to formal balls. Graduation gowns are copied from the gowns worn by university professors in the Middle Ages, which in turn were copied from the robes worn by judges and priests, who often taught at the early universities. The mortarboard hat worn by graduates is adapted from a square cap called a biretta worn by Medieval professors and clerics