Saturday, April 28, 2007
another ruined moon-viewing
I read this marvelous tome--a gift from Julio--on a day during which dark purple clouds and golden sun competed to cast great dark swaths of variegated grays and great columns of light over the City. Earlier in the morning I'd taken the dog running for squirrels through a misty pre-dawn forest where vivid shadow made greens greener and earth a ruddy red not visible in daylight. I can appreciate Mr. Tanizaki's points.
He mourns the loss of darkness in a rapidly Westernizing Japan, and attempts to point out the beauty of shadow and its perfection as a necessary component of Japanese aesthetics. Lacquer wood, gold thread, the makeup of Kabuki--none of these crafts functions properly under harsh electric light, in his opinion.
At some point, perhaps sooner than later (and if humanity survives), we will find ourselves returning to an asethetic that appreciates darkness as much as light. Such an aesthetic is not wholly exclusive to the East. The builders of Chartres understood it as well, which is why it is perhaps my very favorite place on Earth.
A clever essay, very interesting.