A fully illustrated, beautifully produced edition of Junichiro Tanizaki's wise and evocative essay on Japanese culture.
‘We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates… Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.’
This book is in fact a portal. Reading it, you will be led by Junichiro Tanizaki’s light touch into a mysterious and tranquil world of darkness and shadows, where gold flashes in the gloom and a deep stillness reigns. If you are accustomed to equate light with clarity, the faded with the worthless and the dim with the dreary, prepare for a courteous but powerful realignment of your ideas.
In Praise of Shadows is a poetic paean to traditional Japanese aesthetics – in a free-ranging style that moves from architecture to No theatre, and from cookery to lighting, Tanizaki teaches us to see the beauty in tarnished metal, the sombre dignity in unglazed pottery, the primacy of organic materials that bear witness to the regular touch of human hands. It is also astonishingly prescient, offering a gentle warning against the quest for airbrushed perfection, and reminding us that too much light can pollute and obscure our natural world.
In this special edition, the text is accompanied by specially selected images to complement Tanizaki’s reflections and further illustrate the pattern and beauty of shadows.
An elegant essay on traditional Japanese aesthetics by the great novelist. A delight to read
More like a poem than an essay
If, like us, you’re getting bored of staring at the same four walls, these six VINTAGE books spanning the worlds of architecture, design and fashion ought to provide some much-needed aesthetic sustenance. From a jaunt through fifties New York with a beloved fashion photographer to a beautifully illustrated exploration of Japanese culture; these books will encourage you to leave your all-too-familiar living room behind and jump into a new world entirely.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup and the Japan 2020 Olympics are drawing an international spotlight on Japan and, to celebrate, VINTAGE have issued special editions of five masterpieces that span a century and offer a perfect entry point for contemporary Japanese fiction.