(Views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the Author, a narration of their experience.)

The Indus Valley Civilization, one of the oldest in the world, dates back at least 5000 years. India has been the treasure-house of ancient textile skills and knowledge of natural dyes.

The Indian subcontinent has gone through many incursions including Arab, Turkish, and European, by the 19th Century; India emerged as a multi-lingual, multi-religious, independent country like a rainbow of cultures.

My presentation about sacred yellow is a journey through this rainbow of Indian culture where the color yellow is very symbolic and is used in different ways in various religious and social ceremonies.

As I show in this presentation, the colors and diversity are synonymous with Indian culture, beliefs and way of life.

The use of natural colors dates back thousands of years in all civilizations. It even predates dye application on cloth and the spinning of yarn to weave cloth. Natural colors were used in cosmetics, spa treatment and the coloring of hair. In India we consider yellow turmeric powder to be auspicious as well as antiseptic. Also in Southeast Asian cultures yellow is considered a sacred color and is used in various festivals, temples and ceremonies.

Read Full Article

This article was originally published in the 12th Biennial Symposium, Textile Society of America, 2010.