In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizaki discusses aesthetics based on the differences between Western and Japanese toilet construction. Western toilets use white tiles to create a bright, white, and hygienic atmosphere. That's what it means.
Junichiro Tanizaki argues that the charm lies in the fact that the sand walls of Japanese houses and the rusty utensils used in tea ceremonies are dimly lit, and that changes over time called 'age' can be seen. It is considered to be the first to discuss the aesthetic sense of the Japanese.
I think this is also related to the fact that Scandinavian vintage tableware is respected in Japan. Borrowing from Junichiro Tanizaki's theory, the standard of Western tableware is gorgeous, richly colored, elegant tableware that looks like a blooming flower. In fact, traditional European white porcelain from the Meissen kiln is produced based on the value of being white, blue, thin, and therefore beautiful.
For the same reason, white porcelain very similar to Meissen was also produced around 1900 for Scandinavian vintage tableware. At that time, Gustavsberg and Rorstrand also produced a lot of white porcelain-style works, which were generally unrelated to the individuality of the later era, and were generally called "Nordic tableware."
Photo: Gustavsberg's Wexiö series, made in the early 20th century
Wexiö is a design that looks exactly like Chinese celadon. I understand well that this was a "selling" in the sense of values at the time. It is a design that is likely to believe even if it is made in China.
Scandinavian vintage tableware underwent a major change in the middle of the 20th century due to a series of artistic movements called "Mid-Century". I don't know if it was a coincidence or intentionally, but with this era as a turning point, Scandinavian vintage tableware similar to Japanese tableware, which Japanese people seem to like, gradually increased. It can be said that there is a spirit that leads to "In Praise of Shadows" at its root.
Photo: Finnish ARABIA salt box (1970s)
Photo: Arabia's "Fractus" series plate (1970s)
The person who was responsible for the design together was Gunval Olin Grangvist. A large flower is drawn on the salt box, and a pomegranate cut in half is drawn on the fructus.
Let's take a look at other tableware from this period.
PHOTOS: ARABIA VALENCIA (1960s)
Photo: Gustavsberg's Lisa Larson's 'Granada' (1960s)
Photo: Gustavsberg's Stig Lindberg's "Eros" (1970s)
It is also a flower pattern that is drawn in Valencia. In addition, the Granada series has a magical pattern called a totem. And Lindberg's Eros is a picture of paradise.
What these dishes have in common is that they maintain a dim color tone.
Normally, when I draw flowers, I don't often use brown. Pomegranates are originally red. In addition, the Granada series has a bare rough and solid feeling like traditional Japanese tableware. Eros seems to be colored in light brown because it depicts a kind of decadent paradise.
In addition, Krokus, which is considered to be a masterpiece of ARABIA, can be said to be a coloring book before coloring depending on how you look at it. But would the crocuses have become masterpieces if they were actually colored here? I think that it is attractive because it is black and white that looks unfinished at first glance.
Photo: Arabia's masterpiece crocuses (1970s)
This series of color sensations is called the usual world (ke), which is called hare and ke. Not too flashy, not too bright, dark colors are used, but the exquisite balance with the motif gives a calm atmosphere.
Vintage tableware inevitably has more cutlery marks the more it is used on a regular basis. It's quite difficult to find something as beautiful as popular.
From this, it is clear that the tableware of the popular series listed above was the tableware that was preferred for everyday use. The Scandinavian sensibility feels like a world away from Wexiö in the early 20th century, but it shows how the mid-century art movement was at a major turning point.
With the mid-century as a border, there is a big change in Scandinavian vintage tableware, and you can feel the values that lead to the praise of shadows. I think that is also the reason why Scandinavian vintage tableware is so popular in Japan.
(Photo: A dimly lit traditional Scandinavian dining table with indirect lighting and candlelight)