Author Topic: Nara Japanese armour  (Read 398 times)

Swampster

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Re: Nara Japanese armour
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2021, 06:21:04 PM »
I would note that the Japanese word for green is more modern than the Nara period, so there seems to be a problem in translation somewhere.

Blue versus green is even today, curiously identified in some circumstances, but I don't know how you could have a sharp distinction in the Nara period without it being used as a description for a known object - sky-blue and grass-blue. (I know grass is not blue, but there is no word for green.) I am not saying they weren't green, but you'd need the original to figure out where this came from.

碧緑 is also not literally blue + green, its jade + green (midori). Blue (ao) is 青.

Jade green is one of those frustrating things that sounds so specific, but it depends what jade they were comparing it to.  Modern (and western) usage of it is fairly broad and jade itself can go from yellowish to very green to a bluish green. Saturation also varies, and various other elements can add yet more colours.
I guess that there is enough difference from basic 'midori' to make it worth them distinguishing it. FWIW, the (modern JApanese) Midori melon liqueur is _very_ green, so presumably the jade green isn't like that :)






  • Peter Kershaw

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Re: Nara Japanese armour
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2021, 07:52:32 AM »
Jade green is one of those frustrating things that sounds so specific, but it depends what jade they were comparing it to.  Modern (and western) usage of it is fairly broad and jade itself can go from yellowish to very green to a bluish green. Saturation also varies, and various other elements can add yet more colours.
I guess that there is enough difference from basic 'midori' to make it worth them distinguishing it. FWIW, the (modern JApanese) Midori melon liqueur is _very_ green, so presumably the jade green isn't like that :)

I have nothing to helpfully add on what the colour actually is. Sorry. Even today green traffic lights are described as blue in modern Japanese.

But the word midori wasn't coined until after the Nara period, which makes it a bit problematic.

Mark G

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Re: Nara Japanese armour
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2021, 08:26:31 AM »
If it helps, adding a dash of blur curaçao to midori gives a shimmering sea green.  Ginger ale (not beer) is best to lengthen it, and you can strengthen with most clear spirits .

Subtle taste, but a great colour
  • Mark Grindlay

Swampster

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Re: Nara Japanese armour
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2021, 11:40:34 AM »
Jade green is one of those frustrating things that sounds so specific, but it depends what jade they were comparing it to.  Modern (and western) usage of it is fairly broad and jade itself can go from yellowish to very green to a bluish green. Saturation also varies, and various other elements can add yet more colours.
I guess that there is enough difference from basic 'midori' to make it worth them distinguishing it. FWIW, the (modern JApanese) Midori melon liqueur is _very_ green, so presumably the jade green isn't like that :)

I have nothing to helpfully add on what the colour actually is. Sorry. Even today green traffic lights are described as blue in modern Japanese.


Welsh is pretty similar. Glas can mean the colour of summer sky or the colour of verdant grass.
The linguistics of colour interests me - some day I ought to read more about it.
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Re: Nara Japanese armour
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2021, 12:13:03 PM »
The wine-dark sea.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine-dark_sea_(Homer)

"the difference in perception might lie in the mind rather than the eyes" - of course colours exist only in the mind, they have no reality in the external world (though mind colours generally map closely to wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation). Yes, a very interesting topic.
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Swampster

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Re: Nara Japanese armour
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2021, 01:38:04 PM »
The wine-dark sea.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine-dark_sea_(Homer)

"the difference in perception might lie in the mind rather than the eyes" - of course colours exist only in the mind, they have no reality in the external world (though mind colours generally map closely to wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation). Yes, a very interesting topic.
Did you see the programme a few years back - Horizon perhaps - which looked at this? It compared how Western Europeans and Namibians (San, iirc) distinguished colours in different ways. The Homer example was covered as well iirc.

Mention in the wikipedia article of 'red horses' and 'red cows'. Since brown is a colour which is usually distinguished in language later than many, I think 'red' is often used for some shades which today we would tend to lump under brown in English. Chestnut, for instance.
Welsh has various words which would overlap into different shades of brown (such as rhudd which would cover some of the redder shades and llwydd which would include some of the greyer browns, though they have also adopted the English word). Apologies to any Welsh speakers if this is nonsense - it is what I have gleaned from the internet and conversations with Welsh colleagues.
I've just started reading a paper on Medieval Welsh colour terms. I hadn't twigged that coch was a loan word which has replaced rhudd as the basic colour term, leaving the latter to become a specific shade. There is quite a lot in this paper about the use of blue-green (grue) terms.   

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RichT

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Re: Nara Japanese armour
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2021, 04:19:40 PM »
Did you see the programme a few years back - Horizon perhaps - which looked at this? It compared how Western Europeans and Namibians (San, iirc) distinguished colours in different ways. The Homer example was covered as well iirc.

I haven't seen that - is that the same as the Helen Czerski presented series? I meant to watch that, but life.

If colour perceptions were different in the past it affects all sorts of things, like blue helmets on the Alexander Sarcophagus, or whatever 'phoinix' was.

And then there's The Dress. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dress
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Swampster

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Re: Nara Japanese armour
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2021, 07:41:00 PM »
Did you see the programme a few years back - Horizon perhaps - which looked at this? It compared how Western Europeans and Namibians (San, iirc) distinguished colours in different ways. The Homer example was covered as well iirc.

I haven't seen that - is that the same as the Helen Czerski presented series? I meant to watch that, but life.

If colour perceptions were different in the past it affects all sorts of things, like blue helmets on the Alexander Sarcophagus, or whatever 'phoinix' was.

And then there's The Dress. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dress
Seems to have been Horizon in the 2011-12 season "Do you see what I see?" with Jules Davidoff. Someone has put online a couple of emails explaining that the 'experiement' they showed was a dramatisation of an earlier experiment. The actual one showed that different cultures took longer to pick out an 'oddball' colour - the Himba were better at distinguishing between different greens but slower at distinguishing between certain blues and greens.

This https://gondwana-collection.com/blog/how-do-namibian-himbas-see-colour shows pretty much what was on the Horizon programme but I'm not sure whether this is a decent representation of the actual experiment or only the dramatized version.
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