Taiwanese Bwa Bwei divination blocks Photo: Hong Kong Design Institute
In the inner section of the exhibition hall, traditional wedding gowns from Vietnam and Thailand shimmer in white. On the upper floor, red dominates: daily items from Taiwan, the mainland and Hong Kong are painted red and neatly arranged.
These and many other exhibits are part of the Colours of Asia exhibition, organised by the Hong Kong Design Institute and The Design Alliance Asia. The exhibition showcases items from 13 Asian regions.
They are grouped according to colour: red, yellow, blue, green, black and white. The show demonstrates the unique uses of colour across the continent.
In Taiwan, red means good luck. When facing a difficult decision in life, some Taiwanese turn to Bwa Bwei divination blocks. These red, cashew-shaped bamboo blocks are thrown to the ground, and the pattern in which they land is interpreted as a certain sign.
In Thailand, red has come to symbolise the supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Crystal Tai (left) and Janet Tam check out the exhibits Photo: Gareth Pang/SCMP
Green is a universal colour for nature. Many green groups include the pleasing colour in their logos. But in South Korea protesters wearing green shirts may not be environmental activists. The colour stands for the country's labour movement.
In Islamic culture, green is a sacred colour. Not only is it used on the bindings for the text of the religion's sacred book, the Koran; it also appears on decorations in mosques. Muslims will turn their green prayer rugs towards the direction of Mecca, Islam's holiest site in Saudi Arabia, before they begin their prayers.
A Muslim prayer rug is painted in green, the religion's sacred colour Photo: Hong Kong Design Institute
During Eid al-Fitr, adults give money to children in green envelopes. Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim religious holiday which follows Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.
In Hinduism, blue stands for infinity. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva saved the universe by drinking a mystical poison that turned his throat blue. That's why the Hindu deity is often shown in blue on sculptures and in images.
The Colours of Asia is at the Hong Kong Design Institute, Tseung Kwan O, until January 31
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