Anyone acquainted with Chinese culture has heard about its theory of the five elements. Wood, fire, water, metal and earth – the five substances that make up everything and guide the natural movement of Heaven and Earth.
These five elements each have their own characteristics and correspond to five "main" colors. It should also be noted that in Chinese art one main color is often mixed with a shade of another, thus adding even more connotations and depth to the interpretation.
1. Black – Water
Black (also encompassing the darkest shades of blue) was considered the color of Heaven, according to The Book of Changes. So it was worshiped for a long time as “the king of all colors”. Winter was also depicted in black – guarded by a black tortoise headed North.
In Chinese culture black represents immortality, flowing and calmness, along with knowledge, trust and stability. It is believed to carry conserving energy.
This was also the color of Lao Zhi's school – he claimed that “the five colors make people blind” and hence his school chose black as a symbol of the Tao.