It should be so, says Shukla; saffron yellow is not so. Shukla was not alone, although most of the writers who followed him would agree. In a recent issue of the Economic and Political Weekly, G.D. Dhillon, who studies colour psychology, made this argument when he commented that saffron is a very good colour for a saffron yellow shirt. “Saffron can create a subtle blueish cast of the shirt or it can create orange like a saffron or blueish. Saffron yellow is very good on saffron shirts,” he suggested.
Shukla was the first one to note this. For instance, Dhillon has published “An Essay on the Colour of Dress,” which starts with a review of the work of William Harvey on the subject, in 1847. “In his article on dress he refers to an old book by Harvey which describes the colours commonly worn by the Arabs, with many variations on the description of green, yellow, red and black. All these colours are said to have been coloured with saffron in some form. It is true that the description of green, yellow, red and black, when compared with the descriptions of yellow, red and black which are given in the same book, would be the opposite of that in the book, but it would not be the same colour.”
Saffron, it seems to Shukla, is a red ochre coloured with saffron. He cites the earlier review of Harvey’s book in the Economic and Political Weekly, which notes that “Green and yellow, yellow and orange, black and black, and even blue are not colours which have been always used together as well as they have in fact been used, and are generally regarded as entirely different colours from each other. The term ‘green’ is still used in Europe to designate yellow in colour, but green is not always given to this, and in Europe it is often used as a synonym for white (which, besides being white, is white in a black and white world). Similarly, ‘black’ is still used in Europe to designate red, but black is not usually given as a synonym for black in such a world. This has led to the belief that all these colours have in them a subtle blueish cast.”
It appears, Shukla concludes, that the colour of the saffron yellow shirt is determined by the “friction” between the colour
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