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Thread: Red As Blood, White As Snow, Black As Crow: Chromatic Symbolism of Womanhood in Fairy Tales

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    Red As Blood, White As Snow, Black As Crow: Chromatic Symbolism of Womanhood in Fairy Tales

    The colours red, white and black as feminine symbols.

    https://www.academia.edu/225311/Red_...in_Fairy_Tales

    This article is intended as a modest follow-up on a classic study by Brent Berlinand Paul Kay. In Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution, these two linguists showed that despite the proven ability of humans to discriminate thou-sands of color percepts, “a total universal inventory of exactly eleven basic termcategories exists from which the eleven or fewer basic color terms of any given languages are always drawn”. This means that, as they put it, such “eleven basic color categories are pan-human perceptual universals”.

    To my mind, this conclusion is eerily reminiscent of Vladimir Propp’s discovery that thirty-one functions are all that the human imagination needs to produce the myriad extant variations in fairytales. So the question arises of whether fairytales use colors, as they use functions, in a patterned way. To answer, one must pursue Propp’s sort of exploration of fairy-tale universals beyond formalism, inthe realm of sensory experience—or, rather, of its encoding in color categories.

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    Snow White: so Weiss wie Schnee, so Rot wie Blut, so schwarzhaarig wie Ebenholz ( describing the skin, cheek and hair colors as so white as snow, so red as blood, so darkhaired as ebony wood. This was the description of Snow White. It is also the traditional colors of Germany.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    Snow White: so Weiss wie Schnee, so Rot wie Blut, so schwarzhaarig wie Ebenholz ( describing the skin, cheek and hair colors as so white as snow, so red as blood, so darkhaired as ebony wood. This was the description of Snow White. It is also the traditional colors of Germany.
    The sun is a woman in Greater Germania. Have you ever compared the motifs in Snow White to the Amaterasu cycle?

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    No fairy tale: Origins of some famous stories go back thousands of years

    Tehrani and Sara Graça da Silva of the New University of Lisbon in Portugal studied 275 magic-based stories from a database of more than 2,000 types of folktales. Magic stories include beings or objects with supernatural powers and are the largest folktale group. Statistical analyses of the relationship between the folktales and language, as well as between the folktales and how they may have been shared by neighboring peoples, left the team with 76 stories that they thought were strong candidates for accurately estimating folktale age.
    Four tales had a high probability of being associated with the structure of the Proto-Indo-European language — an ancient common language that dates to around 6,000 years ago and is a precursor to such language families as Romance and Germanic. Only one tale held up to the strictest statistical scrutiny, though.

    “‘The Smith and the Devil’ is the one we feel absolutely confident as being a Proto-Indo-European tale,” Tehrani says.

    The story is about a blacksmith who makes a deal with an evil supernatural being for the power to weld any material together. Since the tale is associated with Proto-Indo-European language and includes a character who typically works with metal, the researchers park its origins around 6,000 years ago, in the Bronze Age.
    Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales

    Recent investigations into the evolution of cultural diversity suggest that relationships among many languages, social behaviours and material culture traditions often reflect deep patterns of common ancestry that can be traced back hundreds or even thousands of years. In this study, we explore these relationships in a universally important and richly documented cultural domain: storytelling. Theories concerning possible relationships between storytelling traditions and the descent histories of populations have a long pedigree, and were central to the concerns of pioneering folklorists in the nineteenth century. For example, Wilhelm Grimm argued that the traditional German tales that he and his brother Jacob had compiled were remnants of an ancient Indo-European cultural tradition that stretched from Scandinavia to South Asia: ‘The outermost lines [of common heritage in stories] … are coterminous with those of the great race which is commonly called Indo-Germanic, and the relationship draws itself in constantly narrowing circles round the settlements of the Germans … It is my belief that the German stories do not belong to the northern and southern parts of our fatherland alone but that they are the absolutely common property of the nearly related Dutch, English and Scandinavians’, p. 576.

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