Stephen Gibson West Palm Beach (Regina Dilgen)
A Beautiful Screen at the Japan Art Deco Exhibit (1929-1945) in Delray Beach
In Iris Chang’s history, The Rape of Nanking, you don’t see
an inlaid wood screen of cranes in formation flying in a V,
which are skimming over lake water that is palpably misty.
Nor do you see giant carp in woodblock prints or jewelry
as here, in Japan Art Deco (1929-1945): Culture and History.
In Iris Chang’s history, The Rape of Nanking, what you see
are Japanese soldiers, in 1937, standing on rafts of bodies
piled against a bank of the Yangtze. No such photography
exists here as cranes skim lake water that’s palpably misty.
The year someone made a beautiful Art Deco screen, Nazi
John Rabe, the Siemens Nanking business rep, saw Chinese
civilians (250,000) butchered. Rabe made safe zones in the city.
Chang calls Rabe China’s Schindler. Papers in Yale University
include his letter to his Fuhrer begging him to stop Japanese
atrocities against men, women, children—no cranes or misty
lake water. Here, the solitary reference to war is a singed obi
with burn holes (found in Tokyo after we firebomb the city).
Here, beauty screens, and not just the rape of Nanking. See?
Cranes in a V, there, skimming over lake water palpably misty.