Black Blacker than Black




Illustration of a black angel found in Aurora consurgens

Black: The History of a Color, by Michel Pastoureau is one of the most fascinating books I have read in recent months. There are moments in life when the need of comforting, enveloping blackness predominates all other needs; this is where I am right now. I was intrigued to learn from Pastoureau’s book that it was the imperial Rome that started to define that colour black in negative terms. Previously, it was a color much revered:


“As the color of night and darkness, as the color of the bowels of the earth and the underground world, black is also the color of death. From the Neolithic, black stones were associated with funeral rites, sometimes accompanied with statuettes and objects very dark in color. The same is true in the historical periods throughout the Near East and in pharaonic Egypt. Yet this…

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