Color symbolism in art and anthropology refers to the use of color as a symbol in various cultures. There is great diversity in the use of colors and their associations between cultures and even within the same culture in different time periods. The same color may have very different associations within the same culture at any time. Diversity in color symbolism occurs because color meanings and symbolism occur on an individual, cultural and universal basis. Color symbolism is also context-dependent and influenced by changes over time. Symbolic representations of religious concepts or articles may include a specific color with which the concept or object is associated. There is evidence to suggest that colors have been used for this purpose as early as 90,000 BC.
Prior to its being widely studied in a scientific context, color symbolism was theorized upon by curious individuals in other humanities. These early theoreticians include German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (in his Theory of Colours) and Russian abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky (in his Concerning the Spiritual in Art, among others). Although color treatises such as these are often unscientific (Kandinsky, for instance, was heavily influenced by Theosophy), they occasionally find resonance with artists, philosophers and others working in “softer” subjects.