Monday, May 24, 2010

자연의 색깔

What is the colour of grass?

What is the colour of sea?

The colour of grass is, of course, green. In Korean, you can say it is '초록색' or '푸른색'. On the other hand, the colour of sea is blue (or is it?). In Korean, you can call it '파란색' or '푸른색'. In case you have not noticed, 푸른색 is used in both cases of grass and sea. So is '푸른색' green, blue or a colour somewhere in between like turquoise?

'푸르다' has its root in the word '풀' which means 'grass' in Korean. Since '풀' is green in colour, it is logical to associate '푸른색' with mountains, fields and trees, all of which are green in colour too. However, what is confusing to foreigners is how did Koreans come to associate blue sky and sea with '푸른색'? Was it a situation where Koreans did not know how to differentiate between green and blue?

This is how I read '푸른색'. It is a spectrum of colours ranging from green to blue and conveys the feel of nature. Imagine green rice field, clear blue sky and transparent turquoise sea - the multi-faceted colours of nature. '푸른색' is, thus, not merely an expression of colours; it also encompasses the beauty and grandeur of nature. If by chance, Vanessa Williams is to ask me to paint the 'colours of the wind', I would have no doubt painting it '푸른색'.

I shall leave you with the song "제주도 푸른 밤" (The blue night of Jeju Island) by Sung Si Kyung. If you are wondering why the night is '푸른색' when it is neither green or blue colour, then you must recall the feeling which '푸른색' conveys. '푸른색', in this instance, is more about '느낌' (feel, impression) than colour. Can you feel the beauty of '푸른색' now?

Enjoy the '감미로운 목소리' (sweet and gentle voice) of Sung Si Kyung ^^


  1. Is this 해운대?

  2. No, its not. Its Gyeongpo Beach (Gangneung) on the east coast.