In Praise of Shadows: The Interior Landscape of the Home

I want to also talk about the color of the darkness… I think of an unforgettable vision of darkness I once had when I took a friend from Tokyo to the old Sumiya teahouse in Kyoto. I was in a large room. The darkness of it was broken by only a few candles. It is of a richness quite different from the darkness of a small room. It was a repletion, a pregnancy of tiny particles like fine ashes, each particle luminous as a rainbow. I blinked in spite of myself, as though to keep it our of my eyes.”

~ From “In Praise of Darkness” (1933) by Junichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965)

An affinity for darkness is one of the defining characteristics of Japanese culture, in marked contrast to that of the West, where light is celebrated and shadows are castigated. But where light is scarce, light is scarce. Still, we can immerse ourselves in the darkness and there, discover its own particular beauty as the following images of home interiors illuminate (pun intended).

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