The Gold Buddha as source of illumination.


Wanted to publish this small quote from the Classic Japanese essay “In Praise of Shadows” by Junichiro Tanizaki.
This section is mainly interesting for me as an extension of my consideration of Nam June Paik’s work Tv Buddha

How, in such a dark place, gold draws so much light to itself is a mystery to me. But I see why in ancient times statues were guilt with gold and why gold leaf covered the walls of the homes of the nobility.
Modern man, in his well lit house, knows nothing of the beauty of gold; but those who lived in the dark houses of the past were not merely captivated by it’s beauty, they also knew it’s practical value, for gold, in those dim rooms, must have served the function of a reflector. Their use of gold leaf and gold dust was not mere extravagance. It’s reflective properties were put to use as a source of illumination. Silver and other metals quickly lose their gloss, but gold retains it’s brilliance indefinitely to light the darkness of the room.

pg 36
Tanizaki Junichiro, Translated by Thomas J. Harper and Edward G.Seidensticker, 2001. In Praise of Shadows. Vintage, Random House.


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