Color Blind

Avenue of Mausoleums

I’ve always been entranced by the vibrate tile work exteriors on historic buildings across much of Central Asia and Iran. But why so much blue? Isn’t green the color of Islam? Turns out that in many cultures and languages, there is little to no distinction between the two. Ask a Japanese person what the colors of a stop light are and they’ll more than likely respond “Red, Yellow, and Blue”. In Persian based languages (the Lingua Franca of this part of the Silk Road), the color seen here in the tiles is ‘Kok’ (as in the ‘Kok Gumbaz Mosque’ or ‘Blue Dome Mosque’ in Shakhrisabz). The same could be said for green tea (‘Kok Chai’) as well. Perhaps my eyes are deceiving me and it’s St. Patrick’s Day in disguise.

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