Red is the color at the end of the visible spectrum of light, next to
orange and opposite violet. It has a dominant wavelength of
approximately 625–740 nanometres. It is a primary color in the
RGB color model
RGB color model and the CMYK color model, and is the complementary
color of cyan. Reds range from the brilliant yellow-tinged scarlet and
vermillion to bluish-red crimson, and vary in shade from the pale red
pink to the dark red burgundy. The red sky at sunset results from
Rayleigh scattering, while the red color of the
Grand Canyon and other
geological features is caused by hematite or red ochre, both forms of
Iron oxide also gives the red color to the planet Mars.
The red colour of blood comes from protein hemoglobin, while ripe
strawberries, red apples and reddish autumn leaves are colored by
Red pigment made from ochre was one of the first colors used in
prehistoric art. The Ancient Egytians and Mayans colored their faces
red in ceremonies; Roman generals had their bodies colored red to
celebrate victories. It was also an important color in China, where it
was used to colour early pottery and later the gates and walls of
palaces. In the Renaissance, the brilliant red costumes for the
nobility and wealthy were dyed with kermes and cochineal. The 19th
century brought the introduction of the first synthetic red dyes,
which replaced the traditional dyes.
Red also became the color of
revolution; Soviet Russia adopted a red flag following the Bolshevik
Revolution in 1917, later followed by China, Vietnam, and other
Since red is the color of blood, it has historically been associated
with sacrifice, danger and courage. Modern surveys in Europe and the
United States show red is also the color most commonly associated with
heat, activity, passion, sexuality, anger, love and joy. In China,
India and many other Asian countries it is the color of symbolizing
happiness and good fortune.
1 Shades and variations
2 In science and nature
2.1 Seeing red
2.2 In color theory and on a computer screen
2.3 Why the sunset is red
2.7 Pigments and dyes
Red lac, red lake and crimson lake
2.9 Food coloring
2.10 Autumn leaves
Blood and other reds in nature
2.12 Hair color
2.13 In animal and human behavior
3 History and art
3.2 Ancient history
3.3 Postclassical history
3.3.1 In Europe
3.3.2 In Asia
3.4 Modern history
3.4.1 In the 16th and 17th centuries
3.4.2 In the 18th and 19th centuries
3.4.3 In the 20th and 21st centuries
4.1 Courage and sacrifice
4.2 Courtly love, the red rose, and Saint Valentine's Day
4.3 Happiness, celebration and ceremony
4.4 Hatred, anger, aggression, passion, heat and war
4.5 Warning and danger
4.6 The color that attracts attention
4.7 Seduction, sexuality and sin
5 In different cultures and traditions
5.1 Wedding dresses
6 In religion
7 Military uses
7.1 The red uniform
8 In sports
9 On flags
Red flag and revolution
11 Use by political movements
12 Social and special interest groups
15 In film
16 See also
17.1 Notes and citations
18 External links
Shades and variations
Pure, or solid red, the color of most ripe raspberries.
Scarlet is one quarter of the way between the colors red and orange.
It is the colour worn by a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
The cardinal takes its name from the colour worn by Roman Catholic
Pink is a pale shade of red.
Cherry blossoms in the Tsutsujigaoka
Park, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.
Vermilion is similar to scarlet, but slightly more orange. This is
sindoor, a red cosmetic powder used in India; Some
Hindu women put a
stripe of sindoor in their hair to show they are married.
Maple tree with red leaves in the morning mist Estonia
Crimson is a strong, deep red containing a little blue. The emblem of
Maroon is a dark brownish red. Its name comes from marron, the French
word for chestnut.
Ruby is the colour of a cut and polished ruby gemstone.
Burgundy, claret, or Wine red, is a very dark red containing a little
blue. In France this colour is known as Bordeaux.
(Lists of shades of red and shades of pink are found at the end of
In science and nature
Bulls, like dogs and many other animals, have dichromacy, which means
they cannot distinguish the color red. They charge the matador's cape
because of its motion, not its color.
The human eye sees red when it looks at light with a wavelength
between approximately 625 and 740 nanometers. It is a primary color
RGB color model
RGB color model and the light just past this range is called
infrared, or below red, and cannot be seen by human eyes, although it
can be sensed as heat. In the language of optics, red is the color
evoked by light that stimulates neither the S or the M (short and
medium wavelength) cone cells of the retina, combined with a fading
stimulation of the L (long-wavelength) cone cells.
Primates can distinguish the full range of the colors of the spectrum
visible to humans, but many kinds of mammals, such as dogs and cattle,
have dichromacy, which means they can see blues and yellows, but
cannot distinguish red and green (both are seen as gray). Bulls, for
instance, cannot see the red color of the cape of a bullfighter, but
they are agitated by its movement. (See color vision).
One theory for why primates developed sensitivity to red is that it
allowed ripe fruit to be distinguished from unripe fruit and inedible
vegetation. This may have driven further adaptations by species
taking advantage of this new ability, such as the emergence of red
Red light is used to help adapt night vision in low-light or night
time, as the rod cells in the human eye are not sensitive to
Red illumination was (and sometimes still is) used as a safelight
while working in a darkroom as it does not expose most photographic
paper and some films. Today modern darkrooms usually use an amber
In color theory and on a computer screen
On the color wheel long used by painters, and in traditional color
theory, red is one of the three primary colors, along with blue and
yellow. Painters in the
Renaissance mixed red and blue to make violet:
Cennino Cennini, in his 15th-century manual on painting, wrote, "If
you want to make a lovely violet colour, take fine lac [red lake],
ultramarine blue (the same amount of the one as of the other) with a
binder" he noted that it could also be made by mixing blue indigo and
In modern color theory, also known as the RGB color model, red, green
and blue are additive primary colors. Red, green and blue light
combined together makes white light, and these three colors, combined
in different mixtures, can produce nearly any other color. This is the
principle that is used to make all of the colors on your computer
screen and your television. For example, magenta on a computer screen
is made by a similar formula to that used by
Cennino Cennini in the
Renaissance to make violet, but using additive colors and light
instead of pigment: it is created by combining red and blue light at
equal intensity on a black screen. Violet is made on a computer screen
in a similar way, but with a greater amount of blue light and less red
So that the maximum number of colors can be accurately reproduced on
your computer screen, each color has been given a code number, or
sRGB, which tells your computer the intensity of the red, green and
blue components of that color. The intensity of each component is
measured on a scale of zero to 255, which means the complete list
includes 16,777,216 distinct colors and shades. The sRGB number of
pure red, for example, is 255, 00, 00, which means the red component
is at its maximum intensity, and there is no green or blue. The sRGB
number for crimson is 220, 20, 60, which means that the red is
slightly less intense and therefore darker, there is some green, which
leans it toward orange; and there is a larger amount of blue, which
makes it slightly blue-violet.
Web colors and RGB color model)
In a traditional color wheel from 1708, red, yellow and blue are
Red and yellow make orange, red and blue make violet.
In modern color theory, red, green and blue are the additive primary
colors, and together they make white. A combination of red, green and
blue light in varying proportions makes all the colors on your
computer screen and television screen.
Tiny Red, green and blue sub-pixels (enlarged on left side of image)
create the colors you see on your computer screen and TV.
Why the sunset is red
Sunsets and sunrises are often red because of an optical effect called
As a ray of white sunlight travels through the atmosphere to the eye,
some of the colors are scattered out of the beam by air molecules and
airborne particles due to Rayleigh scattering, changing the final
color of the beam that is seen. Colors with a shorter wavelength, such
as blue and green, scatter more strongly, and are removed from the
light that finally reaches the eye. At sunrise and sunset, when
the path of the sunlight through the atmosphere to the eye is longest,
the blue and green components are removed almost completely, leaving
the longer wavelength orange and red light. The remaining reddened
sunlight can also be scattered by cloud droplets and other relatively
large particles, which give the sky above the horizon its red
Lasers emitting in the red region of the spectrum have been available
since the invention of the ruby laser in 1960. In 1962 the red
helium–neon laser was invented, and these two types of lasers
were widely used in many scientific applications including holography,
and in education.
Red helium–neon lasers were used commercially in
LaserDisc players. The use of red laser diodes became widespread with
the commercial success of modern
DVD players, which use a 660 nm
laser diode technology. Today, red and red-orange laser diodes are
widely available to the public in the form of extremely inexpensive
laser pointers. Portable, high-powered versions are also available for
various applications. More recently, 671 nm diode-pumped
solid state (DPSS) lasers have been introduced to the market for
DPSS laser display systems, particle image velocimetry, Raman
spectroscopy, and holography.
Red's wavelength has been an important factor in laser technologies;
red lasers, used in early compact disc technologies, are being
replaced by blue lasers, as red's longer wavelength causes the laser's
recordings to take up more space on the disc than would blue-laser
Mars is called the
Red Planet because of the reddish color imparted to
its surface by the abundant iron oxide present there.
Astronomical objects that are moving away from the observer exhibit a
Doppler red shift.
Jupiter's surface displays a
Great Red Spot
Great Red Spot caused by an oval-shaped
mega storm south of the planet's equator.
Red giants are stars that have exhausted the supply of hydrogen in
their cores and switched to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen in a
shell that surrounds its core. They have radii tens to hundreds of
times larger than that of the Sun. However, their outer envelope is
much lower in temperature, giving them an orange hue. Despite the
lower energy density of their envelope, red giants are many times more
luminous than the
Sun due to their large size.
Red supergiants like Betelgeuse,
Antares and UY Scuti, the biggest
star in the Universe, are the biggest variety of red giants, They are
huge in size, with radii 200 to 800 times greater than our Sun, but
relatively cool in temperature (3500–4500 K), causing their distinct
red tint. Because they are shrinking rapidly in size, they are
surrounded by an envelope or skin much bigger than the star itself.
The envelope of
Betelgeuse is 250 times bigger than the star inside.
A red dwarf is a small and relatively cool star, which has a mass of
less than half that of the
Sun and a surface temperature of less than
Red dwarfs are by far the most common type of star in
the Galaxy, but due to their low luminosity, from Earth, none is
visible to the naked eye.
Mars appears to be red because of iron oxide on its surface.
The red giant called Mira, a star which is glowing from thermonuclear
Artist's impression of a red dwarf, a small, relatively cool star that
appears red instead of white because of its lower temperature.
Fire is often shown as red in art, but flames are usually yellow,
orange or blue. Some elements exhibit a red color when burned:
calcium, for example, produces a brick-red when combusted.
Red is commonly associated with flames and fire, but flames are almost
always yellow, orange or blue
Pigments and dyes
Hematite, or iron ore, is the source of the red color of red ochre.
Red ochre cliffs near
Roussillon in France.
Red ochre is composed of
clay tinted with hematite.
Ochre was the first pigment used by man in
prehistoric cave paintings.
The mineral cinnabar, the ore of mercury, is the source of the color
vermilion. In Roman times, most cinnabar came from mines at Almadén
in Spain, where the miners were usually prisoners and slaves. Mercury
is highly toxic, and working in the mines was often a death sentence
for the miners.
Vermilion pigment, made from cinnabar. This was the pigment used in
the murals of
Pompeii and to color Chinese lacquerware beginning in
the Song dynasty.
Despite its yellow greenish flower, the roots of the
or madder plant, produced the most common red dye used from ancient
times until the 19th century.
Red lead, also known as minium, has been used since the time of the
ancient Greeks. Chemically it is known as lead tetroxide. The Romans
prepared it by the roasting of lead white pigment. It was commonly
used in the Middle Ages for the headings and decoration of illuminated
Dragon's blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different
species of a number of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena,
Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus. The red resin was used in
ancient times as a medicine, incense, dye and varnish for making
violins in Italy.
The tiny female cochineal insect of Spanish
Mexico (on the left), was
crushed to make the deep crimson color used in
Extract of carmine, made by crushing cochineal and other scale insects
which feed on the sap of live oak trees. Also called kermes, it was
used from the Middle Ages until the 19th century to make crimson dye.
Now it is used as a coloring for yoghurt and other food products.
Sappanwood tree, native to India,
Malaysia and Sri Lanka, and
later the related
Brazilwood tree (shown here), from the coast of
South America, were the source of a popular red pigment and dye called
brazilin. The red wood was ground to powder and mixed with an alkaline
solution. The brazilwood gave its name to the nation of Brazil.
Alizarin was the first synthetic red dye, created by German chemists
in 1868. It duplicated the colorant in the madder plant, but was
cheaper and longer lasting. After its introduction, the production of
natural dyes from the madder plant virtually ceased.
Red lac, red lake and crimson lake
Titian used glazes of red lake to create the vivid crimson of the
robes in The Vendramin Family Venerating a Relic of the True Cross,
completed 1550–60 (detail).
Red lac, also called red lake, crimson lake or carmine lake, was an
important red pigment in
Renaissance and Baroque art. Since it was
translucent, thin layers of red lac were built up or glazed over a
more opaque dark color to create a particularly deep and vivid color.
Unlike vermilion or red ochre, made from minerals, red lake pigments
are made by mixing organic dyes, made from insects or plants, with
white chalk or alum.
Red lac was made from the gum lac, the dark red
resinous substance secreted by various scale insects, particularly the
Laccifer lacca from India.
Carmine lake was made from the
cochineal insect from Central and South America, Kermes lake came from
a different scale insect, kermes vermilio, which thrived on oak trees
around the Mediterranean. Other red lakes were made from the rose
madder plant and from the brazilwood tree.
Red lake pigments were an important part of the palette of
16th-century Venetian painters, particularly Titian, but they were
used in all periods. Since the red lakes were made from organic
dyes, they tended to be fugitive, becoming unstable and fading when
exposed to sunlight.
The most common synthetic food coloring today is
Allura Red AC
Allura Red AC is a
red azo dye that goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red
17, C.I. 16035, FD&C
Red 40, It was originally
manufactured from coal tar, but now is mostly made from petroleum.
Allura Red AC
Allura Red AC is not recommended for consumption by
children. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France and Switzerland,
and was also banned in Sweden until the country joined the European
Union in 1994. The
European Union approves
Allura Red AC
Allura Red AC as a food
colorant, but EU countries' local laws banning food colorants are
In the United States,
Allura Red AC
Allura Red AC is approved by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) for use in cosmetics, drugs, and food. It is used
in some tattoo inks and is used in many products, such as soft drinks,
children's medications, and cotton candy. On June 30, 2010, the Center
for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) called for the FDA to ban
Because of public concerns about possible health risks associated with
synthetic dyes, many companies have switched to using natural pigments
such as carmine, made from crushing the tiny female cochineal insect.
This insect, originating in
Mexico and Central American, was used to
make the brilliant scarlet dyes of the European Renaissance.
The red of autumn leaves is produced by pigments called anthocyanins.
They are not present in the leaf throughout the growing season, but
are actively produced towards the end of summer. They develop in
late summer in the sap of the cells of the leaf, and this development
is the result of complex interactions of many influences—both inside
and outside the plant. Their formation depends on the breakdown of
sugars in the presence of bright light as the level of phosphate in
the leaf is reduced.
During the summer growing season, phosphate is at a high level. It has
a vital role in the breakdown of the sugars manufactured by
chlorophyll. But in the fall, phosphate, along with the other
chemicals and nutrients, moves out of the leaf into the stem of the
plant. When this happens, the sugar-breakdown process changes, leading
to the production of anthocyanin pigments. The brighter the light
during this period, the greater the production of anthocyanins and the
more brilliant the resulting color display. When the days of autumn
are bright and cool, and the nights are chilly but not freezing, the
brightest colorations usually develop.
Anthocyanins temporarily color the edges of some of the very young
leaves as they unfold from the buds in early spring. They also give
the familiar color to such common fruits as cranberries, red apples,
blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and plums.
Anthocyanins are present in about 10% of tree species in temperate
regions, although in certain areas—a famous example being New
England—up to 70% of tree species may produce the pigment. In
autumn forests they appear vivid in the maples, oaks, sourwood,
sweetgums, dogwoods, tupelos, cherry trees and persimmons. These same
pigments often combine with the carotenoids' colors to create the
deeper orange, fiery reds, and bronzes typical of many hardwood
species. (See Autumn leaf color).
Blood and other reds in nature
Oxygenated blood is red due to the presence of oxygenated hemoglobin
that contains iron molecules, with the iron components reflecting red
Red meat gets its color from the iron found in the
myoglobin and hemoglobin in the muscles and residual blood.
Plants like apples, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, peppers, and
pomegranates are often colored by forms of carotenoids, red pigments
that also assist photosynthesis.
When used to describe natural animal coloration, "red" usually refers
to a brownish, reddish-brown or ginger color. In this sense it is used
to describe coat colors of reddish-brown cattle and dogs, and in the
names of various animal species or breeds such as red fox, red
squirrel, red deer, European robin, red grouse, red knot, redstart,
redwing, red setter,
Red Devon cattle, etc. This reddish-brown color
is also meant when using the terms red ochre and red hair.
The red herring dragged across a trail to destroy the scent gets its
color from the heavy salting and slow smoking of the fish, which
results in a warm, brown color.
When used for flowers, red often refers to purplish (red deadnettle,
red clover, red helleborine) or pink (red campion, red valerian)
Red blood cell agar.
Blood appears red due to the iron molecules in
A red setter or Irish setter
A pair of European red foxes.
European robin or robin redbreast
A cooked lobster
Woman with red hair
Red hair occurs naturally on approximately 1–2% of the human
population. It occurs more frequently (2–6%) in people of
northern or western European ancestry, and less frequently in other
Red hair appears in people with two copies of a recessive
gene on chromosome 16 which causes a mutation in the MC1R
Red hair varies from a deep burgundy through burnt orange to bright
copper. It is characterized by high levels of the reddish pigment
pheomelanin (which also accounts for the red color of the lips) and
relatively low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The term redhead
(originally redd hede) has been in use since at least
1510. Cultural reactions have varied from ridicule to admiration; many
common stereotypes exist regarding redheads and they are often
portrayed as fiery-tempered. (See red hair).
In animal and human behavior
Red is associated with dominance in a number of animal species.
For example, in mandrills, red coloration of the face is greatest in
alpha males, increasingly less prominent in lower ranking
subordinates, and directly correlated with levels of testosterone.
Red can also affect the perception of dominance by others, leading to
significant differences in mortality, reproductive success and
parental investment between individuals displaying red and those
not. In humans, wearing red has been linked with increased
performance in competitions, including professional sport and
multiplayer video games. Controlled tests have demonstrated that
wearing red does not increase performance or levels of testosterone
during exercise, so the effect is likely to be produced by perceived
rather than actual performance. Judges of tae kwon do have been
shown to favor competitors wearing red protective gear over blue,
and, when asked, a significant majority of people say that red
abstract shapes are more "dominant", "aggressive", and "likely to win
a physical competition" than blue shapes. In contrast to its
positive effect in physical competition and dominance behavior,
exposure to red decreases performance in cognitive tasks and
elicits aversion in psychological tests where subjects are placed in
an "achievement" context (e.g. taking an IQ test).
History and art
Inside cave 13B at Pinnacle Point, an archeological site found on the
coast of South Africa, paleoanthropologists in 2000 found evidence
that, between 170,000 and 40,000 years ago,
Late Stone Age
Late Stone Age people were
scraping and grinding ochre, a clay colored red by iron oxide,
probably with the intention of using it to color their bodies.
Red hematite powder was also found scattered around the remains at a
grave site in a
Zhoukoudian cave complex near Beijing. The site has
evidence of habitation as early as 700,000 years ago. The hematite
might have been used to symbolize blood in an offering to the
Red, black and white were the first colors used by artists in the
Upper Paleolithic age, probably because natural pigments such as red
ochre and iron oxide were readily available where early people lived.
Madder, a plant whose root could be made into a red dye, grew widely
in Europe, Africa and Asia. The cave of Altamira in Spain has a
painting of a bison colored with red ochre that dates to between
15,000 and 16,500 BC.
A red dye called Kermes was made beginning in the
Neolithic Period by
drying and then crushing the bodies of the females of a tiny scale
insect in the genus Kermes, primarily Kermes vermilio. The insects
live on the sap of certain trees, especially
Kermes oak trees near the
Mediterranean region. Jars of kermes have been found in a Neolithic
cave-burial at Adaoutse, Bouches-du-Rhône. Kermes from oak trees
was later used by Romans, who imported it from Spain. A different
variety of dye was made from Porphyrophora hamelii (Armenian
cochineal) scale insects that lived on the roots and stems of certain
herbs. It was mentioned in texts as early as the 8th century BC, and
it was used by the ancient Assyrians and Persians.
Kermes is also mentioned in the Bible. In the Book of Exodus, God
Moses to have the Israelites bring him an offering including
cloth "of blue, and purple, and scarlet." The term used for
scarlet in the 4th-century
Latin Vulgate version of the
is coccumque bis tinctum, meaning "colored twice with coccus." Coccus,
from the ancient Greek Kokkos, means a tiny grain and is the term that
was used in ancient times for the
Kermes vermilio insect used to make
the Kermes dye. This was also the origin of the expression "dyed
in the grain."
In ancient Egypt, red was associated with life, health, and victory.
Egyptians would color themselves with red ochre during
celebrations. Egyptian women used red ochre as a cosmetic to
redden cheeks and lips and also used henna to color their hair and
paint their nails.
But, like many colors, it also had a negative association, with heat,
destruction and evil. A prayer to god
Isis states: "Oh Isis, protect
me from all things evil and red." The ancient Egyptians began
manufacturing pigments in about 4000 BC.
Red ochre was widely used as
a pigment for wall paintings, particularly as the skin color of men.
An ivory painter's palette found inside the tomb of King Tutankhamun
had small compartments with pigments of red ochre and five other
colors. The Egyptians used the root of the rubia, or madder plant, to
make a dye, later known as alizarin, and also used it as a pigment,
which became known as madder lake, alizarin or alizarin crimson.
In Ancient China, artisans were making red and black painted pottery
as early as the
Yangshao Culture period (5000–3000 BC). A
red-painted wooden bowl was found at a
Neolithic site in Yuyao,
Zhejiang. Other red-painted ceremonial objects have been found at
other sites dating to the
Spring and Autumn period
Spring and Autumn period (770–221 BC).
Han dynasty (200 BC–200 AD) Chinese craftsmen made a red
pigment, lead tetroxide, which they called ch-ien tan, by heating lead
white pigment. Like the Egyptians, they made a red dye from the madder
plant to color silk fabric for gowns and used pigments colored with
madder to make red lacquerware.
Red lead or
Lead tetroxide pigment was widely used as the red in
Persian and Indian miniature paintings as well as in European art,
where it was called minium.
In India, the rubia plant has been used to make dye since ancient
times. A piece of cotton dyed with rubia dated to the third millennium
BC was found at an archaeological site at Mohenjo-daro. It has
been used by Indian monks and hermits for centuries to dye their
The early inhabitants of America had their own vivid crimson dye, made
from the cochineal, an insect of the same family as the Kermes of
Europe and the Middle East, which feeds on the Opuntia, or prickly
pear cactus plant. Red-dyed textiles from the Paracas culture
(800–100 BC) have been found in tombs in Peru.
Red also featured in the burials of royalty in the Maya city-states.
Tomb of the Red Queen
Tomb of the Red Queen inside Temple XIII in the ruined Maya
Palenque (600–700 AD), the skeleton and ceremonial items of
a noble woman were completely covered with bright red powder made from
Image of a human hand created with red ochre in
Pech Merle cave,
Gravettian era, 25,000 BC).
Image of a bison from the cave of Altamira in Spain, painted with red
ochre between 15,000 and 16.500 BC.
Painted statues of the ruler
Akhenaten and Queen
Nefertiti (1345 BC)
Painted red and black bowl from the
Yangshao culture period in China
(4500 BC), in the National Museum of Beijing
Chinese lacquerware from the
Han Dynasty (200 BC–200 AD)
Textiles dyed red from the
Paracas culture of
Peru (about 200 BC), in
the British Museum
In ancient Greece and the
Minoan civilization of ancient Crete, red
was widely used in murals and in the polychrome decoration of temples
and palaces. The Greeks began using red lead as a pigment.
In Ancient Rome,
Tyrian purple was the color of the Emperor, but red
had an important religious symbolism. Romans wore togas with red
stripes on holidays, and the bride at a wedding wore a red shawl,
called a flammeum.
Red was used to color statues and the skin of
Red was also the color associated with army; Roman
soldiers wore red tunics, and officers wore a cloak called a
paludamentum which, depending upon the quality of the dye, could be
crimson, scarlet or purple. In
Roman mythology red is associated with
the god of war, Mars. The vexilloid of the
Roman Empire had a red
background with the letters
SPQR in gold. A Roman general receiving a
triumph had his entire body painted red in honor of his
The Romans liked bright colors, and many
Roman villas were decorated
with vivid red murals. The pigment used for many of the murals was
called vermilion, and it came from the mineral cinnabar, a common ore
of mercury. It was one of the finest reds of ancient times – the
paintings have retained their brightness for more than twenty
centuries. The source of cinnabar for the Romans was a group of mines
near Almadén, southwest of Madrid, in Spain. Working in the mines was
extremely dangerous, since mercury is highly toxic; the miners were
slaves or prisoners, and being sent to the cinnabar mines was a
virtual death sentence.
A restored mural, called The Prince of Lilies, from the Bronze Age
Palace of Minos at
Knossos on Crete
Etruscan dancers in the
Tomb of the Triclinium
Tomb of the Triclinium (470 BC)
A fresco in the
House of the Vettii
House of the Vettii in Pompeii, from about 62 AD. It
was buried by the eruption of
Vesuvius in 79 AD and preserved.
Roman wall painting showing a dye shop,
Pompeii (40 BC). Dyed fabrics
have been hung up to dry.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, red was adopted as a color
of majesty and authority by the
Byzantine Empire, the princes of
Europe, and the Roman Catholic Church. It also played an important
part in the rituals of the
Catholic Church – it symbolized the blood
Christ and the
Christian martyrs – and it associated the power of
the kings with the sacred rituals of the Church.
Red was the color of the banner of the
Byzantine emperors. In Western
Charlemagne painted his palace red as a very visible
symbol of his authority, and wore red shoes at his coronation.
Kings, princes and, beginning in 1295, Roman Catholic cardinals began
to wear red colored habitus. When
Abbe Suger rebuilt Saint Denis
Basilica outside Paris in the early 12th century, he added stained
glass windows colored blue cobalt glass and red glass tinted with
copper. Together they flooded the basilica with a mystical light. Soon
stained glass windows were being added to cathedrals all across
France, England and Germany. In medieval painting red was used to
attract attention to the most important figures; both
Christ and the
Virgin Mary were commonly painted wearing red mantles.
Red clothing was a sign of status and wealth. It was worn not only by
cardinals and princes, but also by merchants, artisans and
townspeople, particularly on holidays or special occasions.
for the clothing of ordinary people was made from the roots of the
rubia tinctorum, the madder plant. This color leaned toward brick-red,
and faded easily in the sun or during washing. The wealthy and
aristocrats wore scarlet clothing dyed with kermes, or carmine, made
from the carminic acid in tiny female scale insects, which lived on
the leaves of oak trees in Eastern Europe and around the
Mediterranean. The insects were gathered, dried, crushed, and boiled
with different ingredients in a long and complicated process, which
produced a brilliant scarlet.
Brazilin was another popular red dye in the Middle Ages. It came from
the sapanwood tree, which grew in India,
Malaysia and Sri Lanka. A
similar tree, brazilwood, grew on the coast of South America. The red
wood was ground into sawdust and mixed with an alkaline solution to
make dye and pigment. It became one of the most profitable exports
from the New World, and gave its name to the nation of Brazil.
The crimson coronation mantle of
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II of Sicily (1133–4), dyed
with Kermes, the most prestigious red of the Middle Ages.
Interior of a
Byzantine church, the Cathedral of
Monreale in Sicily,
with a mosaic portrait of
Christ dressed in red (12th century)
Annunciation scene in stained glass, from the Saint
(early 12th century).
Abbe Suger himself, the builder of the church,
is pictured at the feet of the Virgin Mary, at right. She wears red
with a green cloak.
Richard II of England
Richard II of England (1390s) dressed in red
Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV (1400–10) dressed in red, the symbol of the blood
Dyeing wool, England (1482), from the British Museum
Red has been an important color in Chinese culture, religion,
industry, fashion and court ritual since ancient times. Silk was woven
and dyed as early as the
Han Dynasty (25–220 BC). China had a
monopoly on the manufacture of silk until the 6th century AD, when it
was introduced into the
Byzantine Empire. In the 12th century, it was
introduced into Europe.
At the time of the Han Dynasty, Chinese red was a light red, but
Tang dynasty new dyes and pigments were discovered. The
Chinese used several different plants to make red dyes, including the
flowers of the safflour (Carthamus tinctorius), the thorns and stems
of a variety of sorghum plant called Kao-liang, and the wood of the
sappanwood tree. For pigments, they used cinnabar, which produced the
famous vermillion or "Chinese red" of Chinese lacquerware.
Red played an important role in Chinese philosophy. It was believed
that the world was composed of five elements: metal, wood, water, fire
and earth, and that each had a color.
Red was associated with fire.
Each Emperor chose the color that his fortune-tellers believed would
bring the most prosperity and good fortune to his reign. During the
Zhou, Han, Jin, Song and Ming Dynasties, red was considered a noble
color, and it was featured in all court ceremonies, from coronations
to sacrificial offerings, and weddings.
Red was also a badge of rank. During the
Song dynasty (906–1279),
officials of the top three ranks wore purple clothes; those of the
fourth and fifth wore bright red; those of the sixth and seventh wore
green; and the eighth and ninth wore blue.
Red was the color worn by
the royal guards of honor, and the color of the carriages of the
imperial family. When the imperial family traveled, their servants and
accompanying officials carried red and purple umbrellas. Of an
official who had talent and ambition, it was said "he is so red he
Red was also featured in Chinese Imperial architecture. In the Tang
and Song Dynasties, gates of palaces were usually painted red, and
nobles often painted their entire mansion red. One of the most famous
works of Chinese literature, A Dream of
Red Mansions by Cao Xueqin
(1715–63), was about the lives of noble women who passed their lives
out of public sight within the walls of such mansions. In later
dynasties red was reserved for the walls of temples and imperial
residences. When the
Manchu rulers of the
Qing Dynasty conquered the
Ming and took over the
Forbidden City and Imperial Palace in Beijing,
all the walls, gates, beams and pillars were painted in red and
Red is not often used in traditional Chinese paintings, which are
usually black ink on white paper with a little green sometimes added
for trees or plants; but the round or square seals which contain the
name of the artist are traditionally red.
Woven silk from the Western Han Dynasty, 2nd century BC.
Emperor Gaozong of Song
Emperor Gaozong of Song (1127–62 AD), wearing red, the color his
astrologers considered most auspicious for his reign
The Meridan Gate of the
Forbidden City in Beijing. Walls, columns,
windows and gates of palaces and temples were traditionally painted
A red lacquerware tray with engraved gold foil decoration (12–13th
century), from the Song dynasty
The red coach of the Ming dynasty's
Xuande Emperor (1425–1435),
pulled by elephants
Dancer of the Tang dynasty, from the Astana Tombs
In the 16th and 17th centuries
Renaissance painting, red was used to draw the attention of the
viewer; it was often used as the color of the cloak or costume of
Christ, the Virgin Mary, or another central figure. In Venice, Titian
was the master of fine reds, particularly vermilion; he used many
layers of pigment mixed with a semi-transparent glaze, which let the
light pass through, to create a more luminous color.
Renaissance trade routes were opened to the New World, to
Asia and the Middle East, and new varieties of red pigment and dye
were imported into Europe, usually through Venice,
Genoa or Seville,
Venice was the major depot importing and manufacturing
pigments for artists and dyers from the end of the 15th century; the
catalog of a Venetian Vendecolori, or pigment seller, from 1534
included vermilion and kermes.
There were guilds of dyers who specialized in red in
Venice and other
large Europeans cities. The
Rubia plant was used to make the most
common dye; it produced an orange-red or brick red color used to dye
the clothes of merchants and artisans. For the wealthy, the dye used
was kermes, made from a tiny scale insect which fed on the branches
and leaves of the oak tree. For those with even more money there was
Polish Cochineal; also known as
Kermes vermilio or "
Blood of Saint
John", which was made from a related insect, the Margodes polonicus.
It made a more vivid red than ordinary Kermes. The finest and most
expensive variety of red made from insects was the "Kermes" of Armenia
(Armenian cochineal, also known as Persian kirmiz), made by collecting
and crushing Porphyophora hamelii, an insect which lived on the roots
and stems of certain grasses. The pigment and dye merchants of Venice
imported and sold all of these products and also manufactured their
own color, called Venetian red, which was considered the most
expensive and finest red in Europe. Its secret ingredient was arsenic,
which brightened the color.
But early in the 16th century, a brilliant new red appeared in
Europe. When the
Hernán Cortés and his
soldiers conquered the
Aztec Empire in 1519–21, they discovered
slowly that the Aztecs had another treasure beside silver and gold;
they had the tiny cochineal, a parasitic scale insect which lived on
cactus plants, which, when dried and crushed, made a magnificent red.
The cochineal in
Mexico was closely related to the Kermes varieties of
Europe, but unlike European Kermes, it could be harvested several
times a year, and it was ten times stronger than the Kermes of Poland.
It worked particularly well on silk, satin and other luxury textiles.
In 1523 Cortes sent the first shipment to Spain. Soon cochineal began
to arrive in European ports aboard convoys of Spanish galleons.
At first the guilds of dyers in
Venice and other cities banned
cochineal to protect their local products, but the superior quality of
cochineal dye made it impossible to resist. By the beginning of the
17th century it was the preferred luxury red for the clothing of
cardinals, bankers, courtesans and aristocrats.
The painters of the early
Renaissance used two traditional lake
pigments, made from mixing dye with either chalk or alum, kermes lake,
made from kermes insects, and madder lake, made from the rubia
tinctorum plant. With the arrival of cochineal, they had a third,
carmine, which made a very fine crimson, though it had a tendency to
change color if not used carefully. It was used by almost all the
great painters of the 15th and 16th centuries, including Rembrandt,
Vermeer, Rubens, Anthony van Dyck,
Diego Velázquez and Tintoretto.
Later it was used by Thomas Gainsborough,
Seurat and J.M.W.
The Assumption, by
Titian (1516–18). The figures of God, the Virgin
Mary and two apostles are highlighted by their vermilion red costumes.
The young Queen
Elizabeth I (here in about 1563) liked to wear bright
reds, before she adopted the more sober image of the "Virgin Queen".
Her satin gown was probably dyed with kermes.
The Wedding Dance (1566), by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In Renaissance
Flanders, people of all social classes wore red at celebrations. The
dye came from the root of the madder plant, which tended toward
Woman with a wine glass, by Johannes
different shades and tints of vermilion to paint the red skirt, then
glazed it with madder lake to make a more luminous color.
Dyed feather headdress from the
Aztec people of
Mexico and Central
America. For red they used cochineal, a brilliant scarlet dye made
A native of
Central America collecting cochineal insects from a cactus
to make red dye (1777). From the 16th until the 19th century, it was a
highly profitable export from Spanish
Mexico to Europe.
Rembrandt used carmine lake, made of cochineal, to paint the skirt of
the bride in the painting known as The Jewish bride (1665–69).
The red heels of the shoes of King
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France were discreet
symbols of his royal status.
In the 18th and 19th centuries
During the French Revolution, the
Jacobins and other more radical
parties adopted the red flag; it was taken from red flags hoisted by
the French government to declare a state of siege or emergency. Many
of them wore a red Phrygian cap, or liberty cap, modeled after the
caps worn by freed slaves in Ancient Rome. During the height of the
Reign of Terror, Women wearing red caps gathered around the guillotine
to celebrate each execution. They were called the "Furies of the
guillotine". The guillotines used during the
Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror in 1792
and 1793 were painted red, or made of red wood. During the Reign of
Terror a statue of a woman titled liberty, painted red, was placed in
the square in front of the guillotine. After the end of the Reign of
Terror, France went back to the blue, white and red tricolor, whose
red was taken from the red and blue colors of the city of Paris, and
was the traditional color of Saint Denis, the
Christian martyr and
patron saint of Paris.
In the mid-19th century, red became the color of a new political and
social movement, socialism. It became the most common banner of the
worker's movement, of the
French Revolution of 1848, of the Paris
Commune in 1870, and of socialist parties across Europe. (see red
flags and revolution section below).
Industrial Revolution spread across Europe, chemists and
manufacturers sought new red dyes that could be used for large-scale
manufacture of textiles. One popular color imported into Europe from
Turkey and India in the 18th and early 19th century was
known in France as rouge d'Adrinople. Beginning in the 1740s, this
bright red color was used to dye or print cotton textiles in England,
the Netherlands and France.
Turkey red used madder as the colorant,
but the process was longer and more complicated, involving multiple
soaking of the fabrics in lye, olive oil, sheep's dung, and other
ingredients. The fabric was more expensive but resulted in a fine
bright and lasting red, similar to carmine, perfectly suited to
cotton. The fabric was widely exported from Europe to Africa, the
Middle East and America. In 19th-century America, it was widely used
in making the traditional patchwork quilt.
In 1826, the French chemist
Pierre-Jean Robiquet discovered the
organic compound alizarin, the powerful coloring ingredient of the
madder root, the most popular red dye of the time. In 1868, German
Carl Graebe and
Liebermann were able to synthesize alizarin,
and to produce it from coal tar. The synthetic red was cheaper and
more lasting than the natural dye, and the plantation of madder in
Europe and import of cochineal from Latin America soon almost
The 19th century also saw the use of red in art to create specific
emotions, not just to imitate nature. It saw the systematic study
of color theory, and particularly the study of how complementary
colors such as red and green reinforced each other when they were
placed next to each other. These studies were avidly followed by
artists such as Vincent van Gogh. Describing his painting, The Night
Cafe, to his brother Theo in 1888, Van Gogh wrote: "I sought to
express with red and green the terrible human passions. The hall is
blood red and pale yellow, with a green billiard table in the center,
and four lamps of lemon yellow, with rays of orange and green.
Everywhere it is a battle and antithesis of the most different reds
A Phrygian cap, or liberty cap, was worn by the supporters of the
French Revolution of 1789.
Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror during the later French Revolution, the
"Furies of the Guillotine" cheered on each execution.
Red flag over a barricade on Rue Soufflot in Paris during the French
Revolution of 1848.
The Night Cafe, (1888), by Vincent van Gogh, used red and green to
express what Van Gogh called "the terrible human passions."
In the 20th and 21st centuries
In the 20th century, red was the color of Revolution; it was the color
of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and of the Chinese Revolution of
1949, and later of the Cultural Revolution.
Red was the color of
Communist Parties from Eastern Europe to
Cuba to Vietnam.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the German chemical industry
invented two new synthetic red pigments: cadmium red, which was the
color of natural vermilion, and mars red, which was a synthetic red
ochre, the color of the very first natural red pigment.
The French painter
Henri Matisse (1869–1954) was one of the first
prominent painters to use the new cadmium red. He even tried, without
success, to persuade the older and more traditional Renoir, his
neighbor in the south of France, to switch from vermilion to cadmium
Matisse was also one of the first 20th-century artists to make color
the central element of the painting, chosen to evoke emotions. "A
certain blue penetrates your soul", he wrote. "A certain red affects
your blood pressure." He also was familiar with the way that
complementary colors, such as red and green, strengthened each other
when they were placed next to each other. He wrote, "My choice of
colors is not based on scientific theory; it is based on observation,
upon feelings, upon the real nature of each experience ... I just try
to find a color which corresponds to my feelings."
Later in the century, the American artist
Mark Rothko (1903–70) also
used red, in even simpler form, in blocks of dark, somber color on
large canvases, to inspire deep emotions. Rothko observed that color
was "only an instrument;" his interest was "in expressing human
emotions tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on."
Rothko also began using the new synthetic pigments, but not always
with happy results. In 1962 he donated to
Harvard University a series
of large murals of the Passion of
Christ whose predominant colors were
dark pink and deep crimson. He mixed mostly traditional colors to make
the pink and crimson; synthetic ultramarine, cerulean blue, and
titanium white, but he also used two new organic reds, Naphtol and
Lithol. The Naphtol did well, but the Lithol slowly changed color when
exposed to light. Within five years the deep pinks and reds had begun
to turn light blue, and by 1979 the paintings were ruined and had to
be taken down.
Bathing of a
Red Horse, by the Russian symbolist painter Kuzma
Petrov-Vodkin (1912), used a bright red horse to surprise and shock
viewers. It provoked a furious discussion among Russian critics.
Four Darks in
Mark Rothko (1958). The somber dark reds were
chosen to inspire deep human emotions.
Courage and sacrifice
Surveys show that red is the color most associated with courage.
In western countries red is a symbol of martyrs and sacrifice,
particularly because of its association with blood. Beginning in
the Middle Ages, the
Pope and Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church
wore red to symbolize the blood of
Christ and the
The banner of the
Christian soldiers in the
First Crusade was a red
cross on a white field, the St. George's Cross. According to Christian
Saint George was a Roman soldier who was a member of the
guards of the Emperor Diocletian, who refused to renounce his
Christian faith and was martyred. The
Saint George's Cross
Saint George's Cross became the
Flag of England
Flag of England in the 16th century, and now is part of the Union Flag
of the United Kingdom, as well as the Flag of the Republic of
In 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, accused of treason against Queen
Elizabeth I, wore a red shirt at her execution, to proclaim that she
was an innocent martyr.
Red Line was a famous incident in the Battle of Balaclava
(1854) during the Crimean War, when a thin line of Scottish Highlander
infantry, assisted by Royal Marines and Turkish infantrymen, repulsed
a Russian cavalry charge. It was widely reported in the British press
as an example of courage in the face of overwhelming odds and became a
British military legend.
In the 19th-century novel
The Red Badge of Courage
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, a
story about the American Civil War, the red badge was the blood from a
wound, by which a soldier could prove his courage.
The Crucified Martyr (Saint Julia) by the Dutch artist Hieronymus
Bosch. Saint Julia wears red, the traditional color of Christian
Roman Catholic Popes wear red as the symbol of the blood of Christ.
Pope Innocent III, in about 1219.
Saint George and the Dragon, by Paolo Uccello (1456–60). He wears
Saint George's Cross
Saint George's Cross as a cape, which was also the banner of
Robert Gibb's 1881 painting, The Thin
Red Line, depicting The Thin Red
Line at the
Battle of Balaclava
Battle of Balaclava (1854), when a line of the Scottish
Highland infantry repulsed a Russian cavalry charge. The name was
given by the British press as a symbol of courage against the odds.
The red poppy flower is worn on
Remembrance Day in Commonwealth
countries to honor soldiers who died in the First World War.
Courtly love, the red rose, and Saint Valentine's Day
Red is the color most commonly associated with love, followed at a
great distance by pink. It the symbolic color of the heart and the
red rose, is closely associated with romantic love or courtly love and
Saint Valentine's Day. Both the Greeks and the Hebrews considered red
a symbol of love as well as sacrifice.
The Roman de la Rose, the Romance of the Rose, a thirteenth-century
French poem, was one of the most popular works of literature of the
Middle Ages. It was the allegorical search by the author for a red
rose in an enclosed garden, symbolizing the woman he loved, and was a
description of love in all of its aspects. Later, in the 19th
century, British and French authors described a specific language of
flowers – giving a single red rose meant 'I love you'.
Saint Valentine, a Roman Catholic Bishop or priest who was martyred in
about 296 AD, seems to have had no known connection with romantic
love, but the day of his martyrdom on the Roman Catholic calendar,
Saint Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day (February 14), became, in the 14th century, an
occasion for lovers to send messages to each other. In recent years
the celebration of Saint Valentine' s day has spread beyond Christian
countries to Japan and China and other parts of the world. The
Saint Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day is forbidden or strongly
condemned in many Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan
and Iran. In Saudi Arabia, in 2002 and 2011, religious police banned
the sale of all
Valentine's Day items, telling shop workers to remove
any red items, as the day is considered a
The Codex Manesse, a 14th-century collection of love songs.
were symbol of courtly love.
Fifteenth-century Illustration from the Roman de la Rose, a
thirteenth-century French poem about a search for a red rose
symbolizing the poet's love.
A valentine from 1909. The tradition of sending messages of love on
February 14, Valentine's Day, dates back to the 14th century.
God Speed!, a
Victorian era painting by
Edmund Leighton of a Lady
giving a red token of love to her knight.
Happiness, celebration and ceremony
Red is the color most commonly associated with joy and well being.
It is the color of celebration and ceremony. A red carpet is often
used to welcome distinguished guests.
Red is also the traditional
color of seats in opera houses and theaters. Scarlet academic gowns
are worn by new Doctors of Philosophy at degree ceremonies at Oxford
University and other schools. In China, it is considered the color of
good fortune and prosperity, and it is the color traditionally worn by
Christian countries, it is the color traditionally worn at
Christmas by Santa Claus, because in the 4th century the historic
Saint Nicholas was the Greek
Christian Bishop of Myra, in modern-day
Turkey, and bishops then dressed in red.
Barack Obama and Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh of India on a
red carpet at the
Seats in opera houses and theaters are traditionally red. This is the
Opera House in Vienna.
Scarlet academic gowns are worn by new Doctors of Philosophy at a
degree ceremony at Oxford University.
In China, red is the color of happiness and celebration. The Lantern
Festival in Shanghai.
Santa Claus traditionally wears red, because the original Saint
Nicholas was a bishop of the Greek
Christian church in the 4th
Hatred, anger, aggression, passion, heat and war
This section needs expansion with: more information about associating
red with hatred, anger, aggression, passion, heat and war.. You can
help by adding to it. (June 2015)
While red is the color most associated with love, it also the color
most frequently associated with hatred, anger, aggression and war.
People who are angry are said to "see red."
Red is the color most
commonly associated with passion and heat. In ancient Rome, red was
the color of Mars, the god of war—the planet
Mars was named for him
because of its red color.
Warning and danger
Red is the traditional color of warning and danger. In the Middle
Ages, a red flag announced that the defenders of a town or castle
would fight to defend it, and a red flag hoisted by a warship meant
they would show no mercy to their enemy. In Britain,
in the early days of motoring, motor cars had to follow a man with a
red flag who would warn horse-drawn vehicles, before the Locomotives
on Highways Act 1896 abolished this law. In
automobile races, the red flag is raised if there is danger to the
drivers. In international football, a player who has
made a serious violation of the rules is shown a red penalty card and
ejected from the game.
Several studies have indicated that red carries the strongest reaction
of all the colors, with the level of reaction decreasing gradually
with the colors orange, yellow, and white, respectively. For
this reason, red is generally used as the highest level of warning,
such as threat level of terrorist attack in the United States. In
fact, teachers at a primary school in the UK have been told not to
mark children's work in red ink because it encourages a "negative
Red is the international color of stop signs and stop lights on
highways and intersections. It was standardized as the international
color at the
Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals
Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals of 1968. It
was chosen partly because red is the brightest color in daytime (next
to orange), though it is less visible at twilight, when green is the
most visible color.
Red also stands out more clearly against a cool
natural backdrop of blue sky, green trees or gray buildings. But it
was mostly chosen as the color for stoplights and stop signs because
of its universal association with danger and warning.
The standard international stop sign, following the Vienna Convention
on Road Signs and Signals of 1968
A stop sign in Iran
Nemanja Vidić is shown a red card and ejected from a
A red Chinese typhoon alert sign
Red is the color of a severe terrorist threat level in the United
States, under the Homeland Security Advisory System.
Red is the color of a severe fire danger in Australia; new black/red
stripes are an even more catastrophic hazard.
Red is the color of a UK Railway "Home" signal; the white stripe helps
recognition against dark backgrounds.
The color that attracts attention
Magdalena Frackowiak at
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week (Fall 2011)
Red is the color that most attracts attention. Surveys show it is the
color most frequently associated with visibility, proximity, and
extroverts. It is also the color most associated with
dynamism and activity.
Red is used in modern fashion much as it was used in Medieval
painting; to attract the eyes of the viewer to the person who is
supposed to be the center of attention. People wearing red seem to be
closer than those dressed in other colors, even if they are actually
the same distance away. Monarchs, wives of Presidential
candidates and other celebrities often wear red to be visible from a
distance in a crowd. It is also commonly worn by lifeguards and others
whose job requires them to be easily found.
Because red attracts attention, it is frequently used in advertising,
though studies show that people are less likely to read something
printed in red because they know it is advertising, and because it is
more difficult visually to read than black and white text.
Seduction, sexuality and sin
De Wallen, Amsterdam's red-light district; red is the sex industry's
preferred color in many cultures, due to being strongly associated
with passion, love and sexuality.
Red by a large margin is the color most commonly associated with
seduction, sexuality, eroticism and immorality, possibly because of
its close connection with passion and with danger.
Red was long seen as having a dark side, particularly in Christian
theology. It was associated with sexual passion, anger, sin, and the
devil. In the
Old Testament of the Bible, the Book of Isaiah
said: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as
snow." In the New Testament, in the Book of Revelation, the
Antichrist appears as a red monster, ridden by a woman dressed in
scarlet, known as the Whore of Babylon:
"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a
woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy,
having seven heads and ten horns. "And the woman was arrayed in purple
and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and
pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and
filthiness of her fornication: "And upon her forehead was a name
written a mystery: Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of all
the abominations of the earth: And I saw the woman drunken with the
blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
Satan is often depicted as colored red and/or wearing a red costume in
both iconography and popular culture. By the 20th century, the
devil in red had become a folk character in legends and stories. In
Irving Berlin wrote a song, At the Devil's Ball, and the devil
in red appeared more often in cartoons and movies than in religious
In 17th-century New England, red was associated with adultery. In the
1850 novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, set in a
New England community, a woman is punished for adultery with
ostracism, her sin represented by a red letter 'A' sewn onto her
Red is still commonly associated with prostitution. Prostitutes in
many cities were required to wear red to announce their profession,
and houses of prostitution displayed a red light. Beginning in the
early 20th century, houses of prostitution were allowed only in
certain specified neighborhoods, which became known as red-light
districts. Large red-light districts are found today in
In Roman Catholicism, red represents wrath, one of the seven deadly
Christian and Hebrew tradition, red is also sometimes
associated with murder or guilt, with "having blood on one's hands",
or "being caught red-handed.
The Whore of Babylon, depicted in a 14th-century French illuminated
manuscript. The woman appears attractive, but is wearing red under her
Reine de joie, (Queen of Joy), a book cover illustration by Henri de
Toulouse-Lautrec (1892) about a Paris prostitute
Sheet music for "At the Devil's Ball", by Irving Berlin, United
The red-light district in
Red lipstick has been worn by women as a cosmetic since ancient times.
It was worn by Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, and films stars such as
Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.
In different cultures and traditions
In China, red (simplified Chinese: 红; traditional Chinese: 紅;
pinyin: hóng) is the symbol of fire and the south (both south in
general and Southern China specifically). It carries a largely
positive connotation, being associated with courage, loyalty, honor,
success, fortune, fertility, happiness, passion, and summer.
In Chinese cultural traditions, red is associated with weddings (where
brides traditionally wear red dresses) and red paper is frequently
used to wrap gifts of money or other objects.
Special red packets
(simplified Chinese: 红包; traditional Chinese: 紅包; pinyin:
hóng bāo in Mandarin or lai see in Cantonese) are specifically used
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year celebrations for giving monetary gifts. On the
more negative side, obituaries are traditionally written in red ink,
and to write someone's name in red signals either cutting them out of
one's life, or that they have died.
Red is also associated with
either the feminine or the masculine (yin and yang respectively),
depending on the source. The Little
Red Book, a collection
of quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, founding father of the
People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China (PRC), was published in 1966 and widely
In Japan, red is a traditional color for a heroic figure. In the
Indian subcontinent, red is the traditional color of bridal dresses,
and is frequently represented in the media as a symbolic color for
married women. The color is associated with purity, as well as
with sexuality in marital relationships through its connection to heat
and fertility. It is also the color of wealth, beauty, and the
In Central Africa, Ndembu warriors rub themselves with red paint
during celebrations. Since their culture sees the color as a symbol of
life and health, sick people are also painted with it. Like most
Central African cultures, the Ndembu see red as ambivalent, better
than black but not as good as white. In other parts of Africa,
however, red is a color of mourning, representing death. Because
red bears are associated with death in many parts of Africa, the Red
Cross has changed its colors to green and white in parts of the
The early Ottoman Turks led by the first Ottoman Sultan, Osman I,
carried red banners symbolizing sovereignty, Ghazis and Sufism, until,
according to legend, he saw a new red flag in his dream inlaid with a
In many Asian countries, red is the traditional color for a wedding
dress today, symbolizing joy and good fortune.
In India, brides traditionally wear a red sari, called the sari of
blood, offered by their father, signifying that his duties as a father
are transferred to the new husband, and as a symbol of his wish for
her to have children. Once married, the bride will wear a sari with a
red border, changing it to a white sari if her husband dies. In
Pakistan and India, some brides traditionally also have their hands
and feet painted red with henna by the family of their new spouse, to
bring happiness and signify their new status.
The bride at a traditional Chinese wedding dresses in red, the color
of happiness and good fortune.
Wedding dress in Rajput, India.
Wedding dress from Vietnam.
A red wedding kimono, or uchikake, from Japan. Brides in Japan can
wear either a white kimono or bright colors.
In India and Pakistan, brides traditionally have their hands and feet
decorated with red henna.
In Christianity, red is associated with the blood of
Christ and the
sacrifice of martyrs. In the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church it is also
associated with pentecost and the Holy Spirit. Since 1295, it is the
color worn by Cardinals, the senior clergy of the Roman Catholic
Red is the liturgical color for the feasts of martyrs,
representing the blood of those who suffered death for their faith. It
is sometimes used as the liturgical color for Holy Week, including
Palm Sunday and Good Friday, although this is a modern (20th-century)
development. In Catholic practice, it is also the liturgical color
used to commemorate the Holy Spirit (for this reason it is worn at
Pentecost and during Confirmation masses). Because of its association
with martyrdom and the Spirit, it is also the color used to
commemorate the Apostles (except for the Apostle St. John, who was not
martyred, where white is used), and as such, it is used to commemorate
bishops, who are the successors of the Apostles (for this reason, when
funeral masses are held for bishops, cardinals, or popes, red is used
instead of the white that would ordinarily be used).
In Buddhism, red is one of the five colors which are said to have
emanated from the
Buddha when he attained enlightenment, or nirvana.
It is particularly associated with the benefits of the practice of
Buddhism; achievement, wisdom, virtue, fortune and dignity. It was
also believed to have the power to resist evil. In China red was
commonly used for the walls, pillars, and gates of temples.
Shinto religion of Japan, the gateways of temples, called
torii, are traditionally painted vermilion red and black. The torii
symbolizes the passage from the profane world to a sacred place. The
bridges in the gardens of Japanese temples are also painted red (and
usually only temple bridges are red, not bridges in ordinary gardens),
since they are also passages to sacred places.
Red was also considered
a color which could expel evil and disease.
Shinto torii at Itsukushima, Japan
Cardinals of the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church at the funeral of
Buddhist monks in Tibet
In Hinduism, red is associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and
embodiment of beauty.
Red flags in a celebration of
Muharram in Iran.
NATO Military Symbols for Land Based Systems
NATO Military Symbols for Land Based Systems uses red to denote
hostile forces, hence the terms "red team" and "
Red Cell" to denote
challengers during exercises.
The red uniform
The red military uniform was adopted by the English Parliament's New
Model Army in 1645, and was still worn as a dress uniform by the
British Army until the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.
Ordinary soldiers wore red coats dyed with madder, while officers wore
scarlet coats dyed with the more expensive cochineal. This led to
British soldiers being known as red coats.
In the modern British army, scarlet is still worn by the Foot Guards,
the Life Guards, and by some regimental bands or drummers for
ceremonial purposes. Officers and NCOs of those regiments which
previously wore red retain scarlet as the color of their "mess" or
formal evening jackets. The
Royal Gibraltar Regiment
Royal Gibraltar Regiment has a scarlet
tunic in its winter dress.
Scarlet is worn for some full dress, military band or mess uniforms in
the modern armies of a number of the countries that made up the former
British Empire. These include the Australian, Jamaican, New Zealand,
Fijian, Canadian, Kenyan, Ghanaian, Indian, Singaporean, Sri Lankan
and Pakistani armies.
The musicians of the
United States Marine Corps Band
United States Marine Corps Band wear red,
following an 18th-century military tradition that the uniforms of band
members are the reverse of the uniforms of the other soldiers in their
unit. Since the US Marine uniform is blue with red facings, the band
wears the reverse.
Red Serge is the uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, created
in 1873 as the North-West Mounted Police, and given its present name
in 1920. The uniform was adapted from the tunic of the British Army.
Cadets at the
Royal Military College of Canada
Royal Military College of Canada also wear red dress
Brazilian Marine Corps
Brazilian Marine Corps wears a red dress uniform.
Officer and soldier of the British Army, (1815).
The scarlet uniform of the National Guards Unit of Bulgaria
Musicians of the
United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps Band
Officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Brazilian Marine Corps
Brazilian Marine Corps wears a dress uniform called A Garança.
Soldiers of the
Rajput Regiment of the Indian Army
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the
United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
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create a new article, as appropriate. (January 2018) (Learn how and
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The first known team sport to feature red uniforms was chariot racing
during the late Roman Empire. The earliest races were between two
chariots, one driver wearing red, the other white. Later, the number
of teams was increased to four, including drivers in light green and
sky blue. Twenty-five races were run in a day, with a total of one
hundred chariots participating.
Today many sports teams throughout the world feature red on their
uniforms. Along with blue, red is the most commonly used non-white
color in sports. Numerous national sports teams wear red, often
through association with their national flags. A few of these teams
feature the color as part of their nickname such as Spain (with their
association football (soccer) national team nicknamed La Furia Roja or
Red Fury") and Belgium (whose football team bears the nickname
Rode Duivels or "
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball the color is featured in the league's logo.
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is especially well known for red teams. The
Cincinnati Red Stockings
Cincinnati Red Stockings are the oldest professional baseball team,
dating back to 1869. The franchise soon relocated to Boston and
is now the Atlanta Braves, but its name survives as the origin for
Cincinnati Reds and Boston
Red Sox. During the 1950s when red
was strongly associated with communism, the modern Cincinnati team was
known as the "Redlegs" and the term was used on baseball cards. After
the red scare faded, the team was known as the "Reds" again. 11
teams either regularly features red caps or utilize the color in their
In the NHL, red jerseys are worn by the Detroit
Red Wings, Washington
Capitals, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks,
Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa
Senators, Phoenix Coyotes, and the New Jersey Devils.
In club association football (soccer), red is a commonly used color
throughout the world. A number of teams' nicknames feature the color.
A red penalty card is issued to a player who commits a serious
infraction: the player is immediately disqualified from further play
and his team must continue with one less player for the game's
In rugby union, Ireland's Munster rugby, New Zealand's Canterbury
provincial team and the Crusaders Super 14 rugby side wear red as a
major color in their playing strips.
In the NFL, many teams feature a shade of the color as either the
primary color of team's dark "home" jersey (or an alternate thereof)
or its "throwback" jersey. This includes the Arizona Cardinals,
Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, New England
Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Washington
Redskins. In order to challenge to a call made on the field, coaches
have to throw a red flag onto the football field.
In the NBA the color is featured in the league's logo. Eleven teams
prominently feature the color (or shades of the color) with the
Cleveland Cavaliers using a deeper shade of the color, wine.
In boxing, red is often the color used on a fighter's gloves. George
Foreman wore the same red trunks he used during his loss to Muhammad
Ali when he defeated
Michael Moorer 20 years later to regain the title
he lost. Boxers named or nicknamed "red" include
Red Burman, Ernie
"Red" Lopez, and his brother Danny "Little Red" Lopez.
Rosso Corsa is the red international motor racing color of cars
entered by teams from Italy. Since the 1920s Italian race cars of Alfa
Romeo, Maserati, Lancia, and later
Abarth have been
painted with a color known as rosso corsa ("racing red"). National
colors were mostly replaced in
Formula One by commercial sponsor
liveries in 1968, but unlike most other teams,
Ferrari always kept the
traditional red, although the shade of the color varies.
Ancient Roman mosaic of the winner of a chariot race, wearing the
colors of the red team.
Cleveland Indians and the
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox wear red.
In martial arts, a red belt shows a high degree of proficiency, second
only, in some schools, to the black belt.
Alfa Romeo Grand Prix car in 1977, painted Rosso Corsa, ("racing
red"), the traditional racing color of Italy from the 1920s until the
Red is one of the most common colors used on national flags. The use
of red has similar connotations from country to country: the blood,
sacrifice, and courage of those who defended their country; the sun
and the hope and warmth it brings; and the sacrifice of Christ's blood
(in some historically
Christian nations) are a few examples.
the color of the flags of several countries that once belonged to the
British Empire. The British flag bears the colors red, white and blue;
it includes the cross of Saint George, patron saint of England, and
the saltire of Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, both of which
are red on white. The flag of the United States bears the colors
of Britain, the colors of the French tricolore include red as
part of the old Paris coat of arms, and other countries' flags, such
as those of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, carry a small inset of
the British flag in memory of their ties to that country. Many
former colonies of Spain, such as Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba,
Ecuador, Panama, Peru,
Puerto Rico and Venezuela, also feature red-one
of the colors of the Spanish flag-on their own banners.
Red flags are
also used to symbolize storms, bad water conditions, and many other
dangers. Navy flags are often red and yellow.
Red is prominently
featured in the flag of the United States Marine Corps.
The red on the flag of
Nepal represents the floral emblem of the
country, the rhododendron.
Red, blue, and white are also the
Pan-Slavic colors adopted by the
Slavic solidarity movement of the late nineteenth century. Initially
these were the colors of the Russian flag; as the Slavic movement
grew, they were adopted by other Slavic peoples including Slovaks,
Slovenes, and Serbs. The flags of the Czech Republic and Poland use
red for historic heraldic reasons (see
Coat of arms of Poland
Coat of arms of Poland and Coat
of arms of the Czech Republic) & not due to Pan-Slavic
connotations. In 2004 Georgia adopted a new white flag, which consists
of four small and one big red cross in the middle touching all four
Red, white, and black were the colors of the
German Empire from 1870
to 1918, and as such they came to be associated with German
nationalism. In the 1920s they were adopted as the colors of the Nazi
flag. In Mein Kampf, Hitler explained that they were "revered colors
expressive of our homage to the glorious past." The red part of the
flag was also chosen to attract attention – Hitler wrote: "the new
flag ... should prove effective as a large poster" because "in
hundreds of thousands of cases a really striking emblem may be the
first cause of awakening interest in a movement." The red also
symbolized the social program of the Nazis, aimed at German
workers. Several designs by a number of different authors were
considered, but the one adopted in the end was Hitler's personal
Red, white, green and black are the colors of
Pan-Arabism and are used
by many Arab countries.
Red, gold, green, and black are the colors of Pan-Africanism. Several
African countries thus use the color on their flags, including South
Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Ethiopia, Togo, Guinea, Benin, and
Zimbabwe. The Pan-African colors are borrowed from the flag of
Ethiopia, one of the oldest independent African countries.
Rwanda, notably, removed red from its flag after the Rwandan Genocide
because of red's association with blood.
The flags of Japan and
Bangladesh both have a red circle in the middle
of different colored backgrounds. The flag of the
Philippines has a
red trapezoid on the bottom signifying blood, courage, and valor
(also, if the flag is inverted so that the red trapezoid is on top and
the blue at the bottom, it indicates a state of war). The flag of
Singapore has a red rectangle on the top. The field of the flag of
Portugal is green and red. The
Ottoman Empire adopted several
different red flags during the six centuries of its rule, with the
successor Republic of
Turkey continuing the 1844 Ottoman Flag.
The flag of the
Byzantine Empire from 1260 to its fall in 1453
St George's cross
St George's cross was the banner of the First Crusade, then,
beginning in the 13th century, the flag of England. It is the red
color (along with that of the Cross of Saint Patrick) in the flag of
the United Kingdom, and, by adoption, of the red in the flag of the
The red stripes in the flag of the United States were adapted from the
flag of the British East Indies Company. This is the Grand Union Flag,
the first U.S. flag established by the Continental Congress.
The Flag of Georgia also features the Saint George's Cross. It dates
back to the banner of Medieval Georgia in the 5th century.
The maple leaf flag of Canada, adopted in 1965. The red color comes
Saint George's Cross
Saint George's Cross of England.
The national flag of
Cambodia in its present form was originally
adopted in 1948 and readopted in 1993, after the Constituent Assembly
election in 1993 and restoration of the monarchy.
Red color in the
flag represents bravery.
Red flag and revolution
In the Middle Ages, ships in combat hoisted a long red streamer,
called the Baucans, to signify a fight to the death. In the 17th
century, a red flag signalled defiance. A besieged castle or city
would raise a red flag to tell the attackers that they would not
The red flag appeared as a political symbol during the French
Revolution, after the fall of Bastille. A law adopted by the new
government on October 20, 1789 authorized the
Garde Nationale to raise
the red flag in the event of a riot, to signal that the Garde would
imminently intervene. During a demonstration on the Champs de
July 17, 1791, the
Garde Nationale fired on the crowd, killed up to
fifty people. The government was denounced by the more radical
revolutionaries. In the words of his famous hymn, the Marseillaise,
Rouget de Lisle
Rouget de Lisle wrote: "Against us they have raised the bloody flag of
tyranny!" (Contre nous de la tyrannie, l'entendard sanglant est leve).
Beginning in 1790, the most radical revolutionaries adopted the red
flag themselves, to symbolize the blood of those killed in the
demonstrations, and to call for the repression of those they
During the French Revolution, many in the Paris crowds also wore a red
phrygian cap, a symbol of liberty, modeled after the caps worn in
ancient Rome by freed slaves; but the colors of the Revolution finally
became blue, white and red. The red in the French flag was taken from
the emblem of the city of Paris, where it represented the city's
patron saint, Saint Denis.
Karl Marx published the
Communist Manifesto in February 1848, with
little attention. However, a few days later the
French Revolution of
1848 broke out, which replaced the monarchy of
Louis Philippe with the
Second French Republic. In June 1848, Paris workers, disenchanted with
the new government, built barricades and raised red flags. The new
government called in the French Army to put down the uprising, the
first of many such confrontations between the army and the new
worker's movements in Europe.
Red was also the color of the movement to unify Italy, led by Giuseppe
Garibaldi. His followers were known as the camicie rosse, or
(redshirts) during the fight for Italian
Risorgimento in 1860.
In 1870, following the stunning defeat of the French Army by the
Germans in the Franco-Prussian War, French workers and socialist
revolutionaries seized Paris and created the Paris Commune. The
Commune lasted for two months before it was crushed by the French
Army, with much bloodshed. The original red banners of the Commune
became icons of the socialist revolution; in 1921 members of the
French Communist Party came to Moscow and presented the new Soviet
government with one of the original Commune banners; it was placed
(and is still in place) in the tomb of Vladimir Lenin, next to his
With the victory of the
Bolsheviks in the
Russian Revolution of 1917,
the red flag, with a hammer to symbolize the workers and sickle to
symbolize peasants, became the official flag of Russia, and, in 1923,
of the Soviet Union. It remained so until the breakup of the Soviet
Union in 1991.
Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China took power in 1949, the flag of
China became a red flag with a large star symbolizing the Communist
Party, and smaller stars symbolizing workers, peasants, the urban
middle class and rural middle class. The flag of the Communist Party
of China became a red banner with a hammer and sickle, similar to that
on the Soviet flag. In the 1950s and 1960s, other Communist regimes
Laos also adopted red flags. Some Communist
countries, such as Cuba, chose to keep their old flags; and other
countries used red flags which had nothing to do with
socialism; the red flag of Nepal, for instance, represents the
A French soldier takes down a red flag from the barricades during the
Paris uprising of 1848.
A poster from the
Paris Commune (1871)
A demonstration in Moscow during the unsuccessful Russian Revolution
of 1905, painted by Ilya Repin.
Red was the color of the
Russian Revolution in 1917. The Bolshevik,
Boris Kustodiev (1920).
The flag of the
Soviet Union (1923–91). The hammer symbolized
workers, the sickle represented peasants, and the red star symbolized
the Communist Party.
The Flag of the People's Republic of China.
Red symbolizes revolution,
the large star is the Communist Party, and the smaller stars represent
the working class, the peasants, and the urban middle class, the rural
middle class, as described by Mao Zedong.
Use by political movements
Honor guard of Chinese Army welcomes U.S. Defense Secretary to
In 18th-century Europe, red was usually associated with the monarchy
and with those in power. The
Pope wore red, as did the
Swiss Guards of
the Kings of France, the soldiers of the
British Army and the Danish
French Revolution saw red used by the
Jacobins as a symbol of the
martyrs of the Revolution. In the nineteenth century, with the
Industrial Revolution and the rise of worker's movements, it became
the color of socialism (especially the Marxist variant), and, with the
Paris Commune of 1870, of revolution.
In the 20th century, red was the color first of the Russian Bolsheviks
and then, after the success of the
Russian Revolution of 1917, of
Communist Parties around the world.
Red also became the color of many social democratic parties in Europe,
including the Labour Party in Britain (founded 1900); the Social
Democratic Party of Germany (whose roots went back to 1863) and the
French Socialist Party, which dated back under different names, to
Socialist Party of America
Socialist Party of America (1901–72) and the Communist
Party USA (1919) both also chose red as their color.
Members of the Christian-Social People's Party in Liechtenstein
(founded 1918) advocated an expansion of democracy and progressive
social policies, and were often referred to disparagingly as "Reds"
for their social liberal leanings and party colors.
The Communist Party of China, founded in 1920, adopted the red flag
and hammer and sickle emblem of the Soviet Union, which became the
national symbols when the Party took power in China in 1949. Under
Party leader Mao Zedong, the Party anthem became "The East Is
Mao Zedong himself was sometimes referred to as a "red
sun". During the
Cultural Revolution in China, Party ideology was
enforced by the
Red Guards, and the sayings of
Mao Zedong were
published as a small red book in hundreds of millions of copies. Today
Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China claims to be the largest political party
in the world, with eighty million members.
Beginning in the 1960s and the 1970s, paramilitary extremist groups
such as the
Red Army Faction
Red Army Faction in Germany, the
Japanese Red Army
Japanese Red Army and the
Shining Path Maoist movement in
Peru used red as their color. But in
the 1980s, some European socialist and social democratic parties, such
as the Labour Party in Britain and the Socialist Party in France,
moved away from the symbolism of the far left, keeping the red color
but changing their symbol to a less-threatening red rose.
Red is used around the world by political parties of the left or
center-left. In the United States, it is the color of the Communist
Party USA, of the Social Democrats, USA, and in Puerto Rico, of the
Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico.
In the United States, political commentators often refer to the "red
states", which traditionally vote for Republican candidates in
presidential elections, and "blue states", which vote for the
Democratic candidate. This convention is relatively recent: before the
2000 presidential election, media outlets assigned red and blue to
both parties, sometimes alternating the allocation for each election.
Fixed usage was established during the 39-day recount following the
2000 election, when the media began to discuss the contest in terms of
"red states" versus "blue states".
Logo of the German Social Democratic Party
A map of the U.S. showing the blue states, which voted for the
Democratic candidate in all the last four Presidential elections, and
the red states, which voted for the Republican.
Social and special interest groups
Such names as
Red Club (a bar),
Red Carpet (a discothèque) or Red
Cottbus and Club
Red (event locations) suggest liveliness and
Red Hat Society
Red Hat Society is a social group founded in 1998 for
women 50 and over. Use of the color red to call attention to an
emergency situation is evident in the names of such organizations as
Red Cross (humanitarian aid),
Red Hot Organization (AIDS support),
Red List of Threatened Species (of IUCN). In reference to
humans, term "red" is often used in the West to describe the
indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Many idiomatic expressions exploit the various connotations of red:
"to see red" (to be angry or aggressive)
"to have red ears / a red face" (to be embarrassed)
"to paint the town red" (to have an enjoyable evening, usually with a
generous amount of eating, drinking, dancing)
"to raise a red flag" (to signal that something is problematic)
"like a red rag to a bull" (to cause someone to be enraged)
"to be in the red" (to be losing money, from the accounting habit of
writing deficits and losses in red ink)
"a red letter day" (a special or important event, from the medieval
custom of printing the dates of saints' days and holy days in red
"to print in red ink" (for emphasis or easy identification)
"to lay out the red carpet" or "give red-carpet treatment" (to treat
someone royally as a very special person)
"to catch someone red-handed" (in the act of doing something wrong,
such with blood on his hands after a murder or poaching game)
"to tie up in red tape". In England red tape was used by lawyers and
government officials to identify important documents. It became a term
for excessive bureaucratic regulation. It was popularized in the 19th
century by the writer Thomas Carlyle, who complained about
"red herring." A false clue that leads investigators off the track.
Refers to the practice of using a fragrant smoked fish to distract
hunting or tracking dogs from the track they are meant to follow.
It is a common belief in the United States that red cars are stopped
for speeding more often than other color cars. However, there is no
statistical evidence that this is true. Many police departments have
denied it, saying their officers stop drivers for their behavior, not
the color of their cars. The one survey that was made on this subject
in 1990 by a St. Petersburg, Florida newspaper showed that the number
of speeding tickets given to drivers of red cars was about the same as
the proportion of red cars on the road in the community.
Many film titles have included the color's name, such as:
The Woman in Red, a 1935 American film
Reds, a 1981 film about
Communism in the United States and Russia
The Woman in Red, a 1984 American comedy film
Red Lantern, a 1991 Chinese film directed by Zhang Yimou
about a concubine
Three Colors: Red, a French movie from 1994
Red, a Tamil movie from 2002
Red, a 2008 American film
Red 2, American films from 2010 and 2013
Red Dog, a 2011 Australian film
Red State, a 2011 American film
Red Dawn, 1984 and 2012 American films
List of colors
Red Riding Hood
Notes and citations
^ a b c Georgia State University Department of Physics and Astronomy.
"Spectral Colors". HyperPhysics site. Retrieved October 20,
^ Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of
Color McGraw-Hill, New York (1930)
^ a b c Archetti, Marco; Döring, Thomas F.; Hagen, Snorre B.; Hughes,
Nicole M.; Leather, Simon R.; Lee, David W.; Lev-Yadun, Simcha;
Manetas, Yiannis; Ougham, Helen J.; Schaberg, Paul G.; Thomas, Howard
(2011). "Unravelling the evolution of autumn colours: an
interdisciplinary approach". Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 24
(3): 166–73. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2008.10.006.
^ a b Chunling (2008), China Red, pp. 60–61
^ Eva Heller, Psychologie de la couleur – effets et symboliques. pp.
New World Dictionary of American English, 3rd College
Edition, (1988). "A dark brown red." Random House College Dictionary
(1975), "a dark brownish-red."
Wavelength Goes With a Color?". Atmospheric Science Data
Center. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved
^ Kalat, James W. (2005). Introduction to Psychology. Thomson
Wadsworth. p. 105. ISBN 0-534-62460-X.
^ Ali, Mohamed Ather; Klyne, M.A. (1985). Vision in Vertebrates. New
York: Plenum Press. pp. 174–75. ISBN 0-306-42065-1.
^ O'Neil, Dennis (March 19, 2010). "Primate
Color Vision". Primates.
San Marcos, California: Palomar Community College. Retrieved 22 April
^ Hogan, Dan; Michele Hogan (May 25, 2007). "
Color Vision Drove
Primates To Develop
Red Skin And Hair, Study Finds". Science News.
Rockville, Maryland: ScienceDaily. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
^ "Human Vision and
Color Perception". Olympus Microscopy Resource
Center. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
^ "Be a Stargazer". Sensitize Your Eyes. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
^ "Important Facts About Safelights". How Safe is Your Safelight?.
Eastman Kodak. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
^ Lara Broecke, Cennino Cennini's Il Libro dell'Arte: a new English
Translation and Commentary with italian Transcription, Archetype 2015,
^ a b See David Briggs, The Dimensions of Color
^ K. Saha (2008). The Earth's Atmosphere – Its Physics and Dynamics.
Springer. p. 107. ISBN 978-3-540-78426-5.
^ B. Guenther (ed.) (2005). Encyclopedia of Modern Optics. Vol. 1.
Elsevier. p. 186. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
White and J.D. Rigden, "Continuous Gas Maser Operation in the
Visible". Proc IRE vol. 50, p1697: July 1962. US Patent 3242439.
^ "Laserglow – Blue, Red, Yellow,
Green Lasers". Laserglow.com.
^ "Laserglow – Lab/OEM Lasers". Laserglow.com. Retrieved
^ Adams, Melanie; Natasha Raynor (September 19, 1994 – March 12,
2009). "Mars, The
Red Planet". MidLink Magazine. North Carolina State
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