In Search of Shadows
‘Beauty (is found) not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness that one thing against another creates.’
In his book, ‘In Praise of Shadows’ Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki extolls the Oriental propensity to seek beauty and mystery in dim light, even darkness, as opposed to the stark, brilliant light preferred by Westerners. Eastern aesthetic favours the delicate differences in shadows that produce soft and delicate forms with a ‘fragile beauty’ that are richly suggestive; ‘darkness has always occupied our fantasies’.
According to Tanizaki, it is only in half light that the depth and richness of true and exquisite beauty is revealed. This half darkness offers ‘rare tranquility’ and provides peace, repose and contemplation where ‘immutable tranquility holds sway’.
‘The ‘mysterious Orient’ of which Westerners speak probably refers to the uncanny silence of dark places. Where lies the key to this mystery? Ultimately it is the magic of shadows.’