Red is the color of ambitions and power, and for the longest time, commoners could never wear it. Historically, the red cloth was a symbol of wealth and status, because the dye was extracted from expensive cochineal, worth its weight in gold.
When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, these dried insects became the main export from the New World to Europe. For a long time importers had no idea whether these tiny balls are berries, minerals, or beetles, and suppliers jealously kept the secret. In some communities the privilege of wearing red was reserved for the upper classes, however, nothing prevented ordinary people from wearing red underwear, or, in Japan, stuffing a jacket’s hem with red canvas. This behavior can still be seen as a form of social protest.
A Roman bride’s red veil was regarded as a guarantee of love and fertility. In Greece, Albania and Armenia, this custom is still alive, and in China and India red is the traditional color of bridal wear.
Red symbolizes danger: the red dress was worn not only by the cardinals. The executioners shed blood, wearing red gloves. A red flag, sprinkled with the blood of the dead, is a long-standing symbol of revolution.
Aristocratic red, however, is doubtless the color of passion and luxury. Fashionable monarch Louis XIV glorified the love of bright red heels. And Madame de Pompadour, following him, started a fashion for comfortable chairs in red stripes, and even died in one.
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