THE MIRROR SCALES :
Alas, the precarious construction that I worked so hard to provide turned out to be as fragile as the “scales”!
It must be said that the two brothers who owned the factory were already extremely old when I met them.
And when they disappeared their heir did not last very long. Last I heard, he sells Chinese bikes…
There, we are almost in the subject of a novel, to the point that it is difficult for me to tell in a few lines
the peregrinations necessary to find this very old moribund technique, which I sought obsessively,
on each of my visits to India and since the very first.
A conscientious visitor browsing the poetic and worn charms of Indian palaces cannot fail to be sensitive to the custom of covering the walls of often quite dark rooms with small convex mirrored scales, where the slightest light plays.
For my part, I immediately felt a total fascination. As if it were fossilized mermaid skin,
as if it were the skin of the Beast, that of the story of “Beauty and the Beast” written in the 17th century,
I found there perfectly this fairy tale universe that I carry everywhere with me.
But, outside the old sites, the few traces of recent use proved to be of little relevance for a very long time,
as if to further maintain my obsession. Until I finally find, in a lost village in Gujarat,
the very last producer of the matter: the scales are made from large bubbles of blown glass in which molten zinc is poured, and which are then broken. But still they had to be cut and it seemed that the last tailors, finally found in another place, only knew how to roughly cut circles to sew on embroidered fabrics.
So we also had to find someone to cut and export them.
Many roads, many encounters with people so far from us in space and time, the confrontation with
the death of such a poetic craft, inevitably left traces in my mind.
I would like, without writing a novel and without succeeding too much I know it, a little to share with those who will discover these fragile little pieces of glass, when they are for sale on the shelves of our stores, the feeling that they are more thanthe exquisite wallcovering that they are at first sight.
Text written in 2001 to present fragile and sublime tiles.