Tai Shang Tai Xuan Nü Qing San Yuan Pin Jie Ba Zui Miao Jing (太上太玄女青三元品诫拔罪妙经)


This image is part of a Ming Dynasty manuscript that was produced at the Chinese imperial court and known to be gifts by the emperor to important persons. It highlights the teachings of the Dao and claims that all men and women who recite and practice this scripture are known to be blessed and receive retribution in their afterlife. 

As Chinese manuscripts are usually written in black calligraphy ink on white paper, this makes the gold on indigo-blue background scripture a unique one. In Chinese culture, the yellow gold color represents an imperial color and the indigo blue represents truth, peace and oneness with nature. 

Even without literacy, anyone can recognize how valuable and honorable the illuminated manuscript is just with the gold and indigo-blue color combo. Hence, this illuminated manuscript has contributed to the Chinese visual and linguistic literacy culture today. For instance, inspired by Chinese illuminated manuscripts, many Chinese designs today have been utilizing the gold Chinese characters and illustrations on indigo-blue background to assert the prestigious and exclusiveness of their products. 


Ming Dynasty Manuscript on Indigo-Blue background
Ming Dynasty Manuscript on Indigo-Blue background