Position of the “Noir belge“ marble underground quarry

A short presentation of our group of companies
There are few marbles that radiates as much an aura of rare elegance, mystery and seduction than the“BELGIUM BLACK“.
Where to find the noir belge marble

Contact at:

Tel. +32.475.49.14.31

Fax +351.268.408.012


Black is prior to the Light. Before Light, the world and things were in the most total darkness. With Light were the colors born. Black is prior to them all.

Soulages P. (in Mollard-Desfour A. 2005, Dictionnaire des mots & expressions de couleurs : Le Noir)

A brief introduction to Black color symbolism
Black color in the society today
Conclusion on the Black color

A brief introduction to Black color symbolism

Today’s color of fashion, black color is commonly associated with elegance, sobriety, dignity, luxury, authority and power. But it also represent the color of the unknown, darkness, occult, evil, mourning, depression and death.

It may seems paradoxal that the same color and even word may have such different meaning and symbolism. Black have all along man’s history a dual value of fear and attraction. Not any other color, not even white has so many antagonistic significations.
As it has often been associated with the idea of night, black has early assumed a negative value, inspiring fear and repulsion.

For human and it’s simian ancestors are diurnal animals and have no night vision, while panthers, tigers and lions, their natural predator are nocturnal animals and comes out at night to hunt.As such this fear of the night is deeply rooted into human’s deepest memories. Man knows that from the predator he is during the day, he becomes blind and an easy prey in the dark…

This original fear of the black is still reflected in animist societies, where shamen frequently wear this color to symbolize their power over the spirits.Black is also largely used to colour masks, often fearful that depicts the baneful spirits that hunts and tricks men.
Crows, wolves, rats, snakes, spiders, flies and scorpions, all black-skinned animals which inspire repulsion for being corpse scavengers or venenous also conforted this ancestral fear of man towards the black color.

But Black also assumed early in human history a religious and mystical meaning.

As “black pigment“ was one of the first color that man used in artistical and religious representation to evoke over dark cave’s walls the spirits .

Fundamental c
olor, Black is also the original color of Art and Religion.

While it’s widely known that in pre-indo-european societies the color related to death was the white, perhaps as being the color of bone. This belief is still in use in some modern asiatic culture today where white is the color of funerals and mourning.

Black pigment prehistoric paintings (Lascaux grotto, France)

In Ancient Egypt, as Nile’s yearly flooding would bring the fertile “black earth“ that would allow the crops to be grown again after the dry period, the black color assumed a dual value.

While Sekhmet and Anubis, respectively lion-headed goddess of War and chacal-headed god of the Dead were represented with a black skin and frightening aspect, so were Ptah, Isis and Osiris which assumed human features and were linked to the myths of fertility and resurrection.
The antique egyptian word for Black was “Kem“ which later originated the arabic word “El Kymiâ“ for Alchemy, as turning all material to black by calcination was generally considered the first step of conversion of metals before transmutation to philosophal stone. Here, going through the Black was the necessary step to cross through destruction to reach the ultimate esoteric knowledge of immortality.

Sekhmet ‘s representation in black basalt.

But it’s during mid-late 14th century that the black assumed a strong negative value by becoming the color that marked the bodies of the victims of the pandemic epidemy of plague that struck Europe and the rest of the world killing around 75 millions people.

The illness became the “Black Plague“ or “Black Death“.
The epidemy affected so deeply the medieval european society that it turned it very morbid, xenofobic and death obsessed. It also affected it’s arts and culture. By extension, black became the shade of evil, the color of the devil and it’s servant witches and necromancers.

Strangely enough it’s in the same period that flourished the myths of the “Black Virgin“, in western Europe, whose explaination is still today controversial.

Christians, Jews and Muslim aside relies on black color to dress their priests. In Islam the value of Black is stronger even as it is the color of sacred house of the Kaaba and it’s revered Black Stone.

Priests teaches the word of God. As such they are invested with a mission and stand aside from the normal beings. Their dress is the symbol of their dedication, prestige, authority and difference.


Black virgin representation (France) .

Black color in the society today

Since the end of XIXth century as the society progressively turned to be power-hungry, the signification of black color progressively changed. Black as the color of the crude oil,  quickly implyied richness, wealth and power, (“black gold“) but also often war and chaos.

Crude oil

The first car to be industrially produced, the T-model from Ford was only colored black to reduce it’s cost. To the people who would ask it to be made in other shades, Mr Ford replyied :

You can paint it any color, so long as it's black".

As such, black became the color of the industrial revolution and modernism.

T-model from Ford

The beginning of the XXth century, Matisse the french artist of colorful painting was the first to claim the proeminence of Black as a color upon all others while declaring that “le noir est une couleur en soi qui résume et consume toutes les autres“.

But black also assumed the shade of the extremism as it became the color of antagonist politic movements. Fascists as well as anarchists broadly used this color as their symbol.

More recently,  many are the heroes of modern myths who wears black :

Zorro*, Batman*, Darth Vador*, Mad Max*, Neo* (in Matrix* series) all share the color black and a commun role of rebellion leaders against an over-powerful oppressing system. They are the messianic symbols of a renewal achieved through a fight that sometimes even implies their own sacrifice.

The discovery of “black holes“ and more recently of the “dark matter“ in astronomy announced a turning point in the understanding of the universe. Black assume the value of antique, mysterious, ultra-dense matter whose logics escaped the previously known rules of nature.

While it was the color of the dress of the executioneer, black was also the color of the doctor’s dress in medieval eras. Today’s referee, judge, lawyer, designer and architects wear black as the color that distinguish themselves from the “players“ of the society. They stand aside and the black color is the symbol of their distance to the normal beings and their authority upon them.

Fashion has discovered the numerous values of black shades as many fashion designer are focusing mostly on black and it’s numerous shades and materials.

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Conclusion on the Black color

Color of the underground world, Black represents the depths of earth where world’s regeneration occurs. Often limited to be symbol of darkness and impurity, Black in truth  represent the mystery of the non-visible and the original virginity of the universe. Color of the original night and shade of all human fears, Black comes earlier to Creation in all religion. Like winter calls spring, the Black evoques despair but also the promise of the eternal renewal of life.

As a conclusion, Black is not an easy color to deal with, as it holds numerous meanings often of antagonistic values. This difficulty is also it’s richness as it can be used infinitly without ever repeating itself.

Absolut… As Black is oldest of all colors. It contrast, oppose and contain in the same time all the others. Black is never light or dark. It just is.

Mysterious… As the color of the night, Black never reveal itself totally. It only partially appear to the eye in an ever changing way.

Ostentatorious… As the most brilliant stars are only visible in the dark of night, Black garanties the visibility of the one who use it.

Powerful… He who use Black is a character strong enough to confront all the negative side-meanings of this color and make them his. He’s a self-confident person with no fears and fully assumes it’s difference with the passer-by.

Awe-inspiring… As the color of the dress of the referees, most religion’s priesthood, lawyers, judges, doctors,  architects, designers, Black is the color that marks the difference and the distance with the normal human being.

Precious and exclusive… As diamonds, pearls, perfumes, caviar,  high-class cars,  satin, women underwear…

“J’aime l’autorité du noir, sa gravité, son évidence, sa radicalité. Son puissant pouvoir de contraste donne une présence intense à toutes les couleurs et lorsqu’il illumine les plus obscures, il leur confère une grandeur sombre. Le noir a des capacités insoupçonnées et,  attentif à ce que j’ignore, je vais à leur rencontre".

Soulages P. (in Mollard-Desfour A. 2005, Dictionnaire des mots & expressions de couleurs : Le Noir)

Copyright 2006 Noirbelge