Eloge de l’ombre
“For a lacquer decorated with gold dust is not meant to be embraced at a glance in an illuminated place, but rather to be perceived in a dark place, in a diffused glow which, at times, reveals one or the other detail, so that the majority of its sumptuous decor is constantly hidden in the shadow, arousing inexpressible resonances.
In addition, the brilliance of its sparkling surface reflects, when it is placed in a dark place, the agitation of the flame of the light, thus detecting the smallest current of air which crosses from time to time the calmest room and discreetly encourages man to dream. There were no objects of lacquer in the shaded space, this dream world with the uncertain clarity that the candles or oil lamps emits, the beating pulse of the night are the blinking flames, one could get lost for sure through their fascination. Like thin streams of water running on the rugs gathering in stagnant layers, the rays of light are captured, one here, another one there, then spread thin, uncertain and glittering, weaving on the fabric of the night like a damask made of these drawings with gold powder. “
First published in 1978 in René Sieffert’s admirable translation, this cult book is a reflection on the Japanese conception of beauty.