Friday, December 31, 2010
The starless, bible-black and cobblestone patterned.
Bible-black is a term that is loaded with emotion. It evokes something deeply religious, maybe sometimes in a negative way but also an honest piety.
It is a term that, perhaps only in my mind, must almost stand for one definite colour. There can be none, however. I remember an issue of the fashion magazine View on Colour (now merged in Provider) that was devoted to black, and had a small sample card of blacks that were deemed fashionable in the coming years. All blacks, but oh so different in hues, shinyness, and depth.
But it is probably just a perception of blackness. As Dali once proposed that he thought that the centre of the world was the earring in Vermeer's picture (as the light in the picture seems to come from the earring, instead of direct sunlight), I would propose another counterpart.
The way the simple stone casts a shadow on a child's grave in Walker Evans' Let us now praise famous men, that could well be bible-black.
The strange thing is that those black bibles, supposedly so basic and stark, in fact, have traits of fashion. While Dutch black bibles tend to be matte, in discreet sharkskin clad. German black bibles are made from bovine leather, polished with arabic gum. English-made bibles tend to be made from longer-grained morocco. It is not only by country that black bibles are divided, also preferences in taste over time are visible when carefully comparing.
The exact numbers are unknown to me, but certainly worth exploring. I owe it to my fascination with a word.