Yellow color of gold
One of the most ambiguous colors, yellow is the color of sunlight, gold, and happiness. Besides, it is the color of intellect and enlightenment. At the same time, it is the color of envy, disgrace, deceit, betrayal, and cowardice. In Islam, golden yellow is the color of wisdom, and during the Chinese Ch’ing dynasty (1644-1912), only the emperor could wear yellow.
However, in the Christian tradition, Judas wore a yellow cloak when he betrayed Jesus with a kiss. In his book “The Primary Colors”, Alexander Theroux expounds the enigma of yellow: “So few colors give the viewer such a feeling of ambivalence or leave in one such powerful, viscerally enforced connotations and contradictions. Desire and renunciation. Dreams and decadence. Shining light and shallowness. Gold here. Grief there. An intimate mirroring in its emblematic significance of glory in one instance and, in yet another, painful, disturbing estrangement. An opposing duality seems mysteriously constant.”
Reflecting this ambiguity, the Yellow Brick Road of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was paved in bricks of gold, but they symbolized the bitter congressional fight over the gold standard and tight money policies in the early 1900s.
The Beatles’ 1968 animated film, Yellow Sub-marine, was a lighthearted modern version of the ancient mythology of good versus evil. The yellow submarine symbolized youthful optimism, and the Blue Meanies, who despised both music and love, were the unsuccessful opposing force. Modern law enforcement uses bright yellow tape to mark a crime scene, another good-versus-evil sign.
In the ancient symbolism of dreams, pale yellow meant material comfort, but deep yellow signified jealousy and deceit. Gentlemen are said to love blondes, but women with blonde hair were called—by those same gentlemen — “dumb blondes.” On the other hand, yellow in nature is often extolled as cheerful and charming, as in Wordsworth’s 1804 poem “Daffodils”:
I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils…
In Jungian psychology, yellow symbolizes the flash of insight called “intuition,” which seems to come “from out of the blue” or “from left field,” which, incidentally, is the visual field of the right hemisphere of the brain.