Open: The Visible Darkness
As we came in the door an elderly waitress with shaven eyebrows and blackened teeth was kneeling by a candle behind which stood a large screen. On the far side of the screen, at the edge of the little circle of light, the darkness seemed to fall from the ceiling, lofty, intense, monolithic, the fragile light of the candle unable to pierce its thickness, turned back as from a black wall. I wonder if my readers know the color of that “darkness seen by candlelight.” It was different in quality from darkness on the road at night. It was 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 out of my eyes.
- Junichiro Tanizaki (谷崎 潤一郎), In Praise of Shadows (陰翳礼讃) 1933.