Wednesday, July 04, 2007

ASCHER-ASCHER Color Codes vs their 3-4 word color descriptions

Hi folks,

I'm finding recourse to the 3-4 word descriptions for the colors of the cords listed in the Ascher-Ascher database far more useful than the two letter AA color codes. Obviously, the two letter codes were useful allowing the Aschers to tabulate their data in a managable way.

However, expanding the 2 letter labels to the 3-4 word descriptions of the colors present, is allowing one to see a number of things:

(1) While there may be as many as 8-10 different shades or tints of a particular color (say olive green) across the entire database (each shade/tint given its own two letter AA code), there may be only 2-3 of these shades or tints present in any particular khipu, often allowing one to recognize differences in lightness/darkness between the 2-3 shades/tints present.

(2) Besides observing 2-3 different shades of a particular tint (say of olive green, so that there would be a light olive green, olive green and/or dark olive green) some times a particular shade may also be mottled with another color (dark olive green mottled with neutral). So a particular tint (olive green) may appear in 2-3 shades of contrasting lightness/darkness + a mottled variety.

(3) Different khipus may exhibit slightly different descriptions of a particular tint. For example, one khipu may exhibit olive green while another may have grayish olive. Yet both khipus may exhibit 2-3 shades or tints of the color "olive" or "green" those 2-3 shades within each khipu could be contrasted as being either "lighter" or "darker."

Thus it probably useful to identify the 2-3 shades and tints of a particular color within particular khipus and then to recategorize them as:

(a) (olive) green LIGHT,
(b) (olive) green MODERATE
(c) (olive) green DARK


(d) (olive) green MOTTLED or COMPLEX

before making comparisons of potential meaning across the entire database.

(4) Regarding the presence of FUNDAMENTAL COLORS within the Ascher-Ascher database, it appears that the following colors (of various shades) appear:

(a) BROWN (light, moderate, dark, deep or vivid ...)
(b) GRAY (neutral, light, moderate, dark ...)
(c) YELLOWISH BROWN (light, moderate, dark, ...)
(d) ORANGE/REDDISH BROWN (light, moderate, dark, ...)
(e) OLIVE GREEN (light, moderate, dark
(f) BLUE or GREENISH BLUE (light, moderate, dark ...)

additionally, "grayish" varieties exist of all these

Note that ALL of these shades are naturally occuring in Andean Cotton. (I previously posted a number of links regarding naturally occuring Andean cotton of these varied shades. Click link here).

Note also, that a khipu maker presumably would rely on the cotton cords that he would have available. So in any given khipu, the shades that he/she used may be lighter or darker than the norm, or even more or less yellow, olive, orange/red than the norm. So one would have to take into account the presence or lack of brown (light, moderate, dark) cords in a khipu.

If there are no "brown" cords in a paricular khipu but an abundance of "yellowish" or "reddish" or "olive" cords present, the khipu may have to be "yellow", "red" or "olive" shifted in order to read it properly.

An Andean Khipumaker/reader would probably do this naturally, but if comparisons are to be made across the entire ASCHER-ASCHER database, then such "yellow", "red", "olive" shifting may occasionally be necessary.

Special colors:

Additionally, some colors are labeled as been particularly strong or deep. These may refer to dyed as opposed to naturally occurring varieties, but in any case, are certainly special (and generally lacking in brownness.

(a) Strong yellow
(b) Strong red
(c) Blue
(d) Black

(5) Finally, in terms of the use of a particular color shade and tint within a particular khipu, it is clear that:

(a) In some khipus, an entire pendant group (or the pendants or subsidiaries within a particular pendant group) are of the same color shade and tint.

(b) In other khipus, a cord of a particular shade and tint appears consistently in a particular position within pendant groups.

(c) In still khipus others, no easy pattern can be discerned.

My goal, of course, has been to eventually determine the conventions (that is, the grammar) used by the khipu makers in their use of cords of particular colors, tints, shades, and finally, even design (barberpole, mottled, joined cords).

Expanding the AA color labels to their 3-4 word descriptions appears to be aiding me(and perhaps you) in that process!



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