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Forum LockedPurple skins in artistic depictions

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snowybeagle View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 06:47
I have observed many Indian artistic depictions, and many used purple as the colour of the skins of the (human and divine) characters.
 
Is there a reason for choosing this colour?
 
Edit: sorry, I just realised I posted this in the wrong folder.  Could an AE staff help to correct my error, please?  TIA


Edited by snowybeagle - 19-Dec-2007 at 06:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 06:58
Sure thing. I moved it to "History of South Asian Subcontinent" - is that OK?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 07:16
Perhaps the purple skins are supposed to denote people with heavy tans versus those that are not that dark in North India? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 07:39
My guess is it's a sex thing. Goddesses are often depicted with pink skin.
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snowybeagle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 08:32
Originally posted by Knights Knights wrote:

Sure thing. I moved it to "History of South Asian Subcontinent" - is that OK?
Great, thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jayeshks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 17:49
The blue-black tone can represent the night sky or infinity.  Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu the preserver) is depicted with blue or black skin symbolizing his eternity.  The word Krishna itself is a synonym for "dark."

Shiva is also known as Nilkanth (blue-throated) and is sometimes represented in blue.  This goes back to the Hindu creation story where Shiva swallowed black poison churned up from the oceans, to prevent the destruction of the universe.   He is also often depicted in a grey hue as he is supposed to have covered himself in ashes during meditation. 

The goddess Kali is also depicted with blue or black skin.  She is the manifestation of vengeance and other dark emotions of the mother goddess. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2007 at 06:35
So, those with purple skins are divine characters, even though some might look like mere mortals?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jayeshks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2007 at 12:22
Well yes and no.  Only a few gods are depicted with bluish/black skins.  Most are depicted in more natural skin tones.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdalton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2007 at 23:05
Chinese art would sometimes also show "dark-skinned immortals" with bluish skin. I'm sure they got the idea from South Asia, but whether it was an idea lifted from Indian art or that the Chinese artists simply weren't sure how to accurately depict the skin colour of their southwestern neighbours, I'm not sure. These "immortals" tended also to be vegetarian ascetics, so clearly they are meant to be exemplars of Hinduism/Buddhism. 
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