Flower arranging and sadism

6 Jan

The movement of Kashiwagi’s hands could only be described as magnificent. One small movement followed another, and the effects of contrast and symmetry converged with infallible artistry. Nature’s plants were brought vividly under the sway of an artificial order and made to conform to an established melody. The flowers and leaves, which had previously existed as they were, had now been transformed into flowers and leaves as they ought to be. The cat-tails and irises were no longer individual, anonymous plants belonging to their respective species, but had become terse, direct manifestations of what might be called the essence of the irises and the cat-tails.

Yet there was something cruel about the movement of his hands. They behaved as though they had some unpleasant, gloomy privilege in relation to the plants. Perhaps it was because of this that each time I heard the sound of the scissors and saw the stem of one of the flowers being cutI had the impression that I could detect the dripping of blood.

From The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima.


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