Thinking Colours: Perception, Translation and Representation
The essays collected into this volume are organized into five interrelated sections exploring discourse on the interaction between sensation, perceptions of colour and the various forms of their cultural representation. The contributors analyse aspects related to colour ‘labelling’, its mediation and representation, consider traditional and new approaches to colour, and explore the cultural productivity of colour across different fields. Colour is presented within a conceptual framework that fosters alliances between the humanities and the social and natural sciences.
Part I is dedicated to studying colour from a cognitive perspective, while Part II contains essays dealing with issues surrounding the translation of colour lexicons and covers topics such as the Chinese qing macro-colour category and colour metonymy in advertising.
The papers grouped together in Part III explore the negotiation that occurs between colours and literature in a masterpiece of Chinese literary criticism Wenxin Diaolong (The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons) by Liu Xie, colour metaphors in Homeric epics, and finally the interpretation of colour in modern Portuguese youth novels. This is followed by Part IV, which examines the use of colour in the visual arts. The studies in Part V emphasize the usage of colour and colour preferences within different cultural and social environments, including peculiarities in design and architecture and the symbolism of colour in tourism.
Many of the questions addressed throughout this volume stem from the dialogic interaction among the contributors representing various different fields of research. Two particular aspects are present throughout the volume and will have a profound effect on the reader, namely that the categorization and the interpretation of colour are a priori emotional and vary from culture to culture. Colour names have their own “cultural memory” and references; they can either “remember” or “forget” some notions relevant to the speakers’ cultural tradition. Second, as a cultural puzzle, colour produces very strong associative and symbolic meanings, thus ensuring it remains a strong semiotic resource and a powerful instrument for conveying and communicating meaning.
Victoria Bogushevskaya graduated from Beijing Language and Culture University, China, and received Honours in Chinese Linguistics from Vladivostok Far Eastern State University, Russia. Her doctorate in Chinese Linguistics was awarded by the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia. Victoria currently teaches Chinese Language and Civilisation at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the History of Chinese Art at the University of Urbino, Italy. Her main fields of research include cross-cultural differences in colour categorisation, colour naming, psycholinguistics, historical semantics and translation studies.
Elisabetta Colla is Assistant Professor in the Asian Studies graduate programme in the Faculty of Arts of Lisbon University. She received her PhD in Studies of Culture from the Faculty of Human Sciences at the Portuguese Catholic University, Lisbon. She currently teaches Asian Art, Introduction to Asian Literatures and History of Ancient and Imperial China at Lisbon University and the Portuguese Catholic University, Lisbon. She is a correspondent of the International Confucian Association and a member of the Centre of Communication and Culture, Lisbon. Her main fields of research: East Asian Studies and Macao studies.
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