Aesthetics

Decorations painted by Hillevi Pleijel. Photo: http://www.ecapphoto.com/

Great care is taken in the Uppland and Europa models to combine traditional elements of design with modern functionality. The japanese author Junichirō Tanizaki wrote in the 1930s the following about Oriental lacquerware:

”Sometimes a superb piece of lacquerware, decorated perhaps with flecks of silver and gold – a box or a desk or a set of shelves – will seem to me unsettlingly garish and altogether vulgar. But render pitch black the void in which they stand, and light them not with the rays of the sun or electricity but rather a single latern or candle: suddenly those garish objects turn somber, refined, dignified. […] Lacqerware decorated in gold is not something to be seen in brilliant light, to be taken in at a single glance; it should be left in the dark, a part here and a part there picked up by a faint light. Its florid patterns recede into the darkness, conjuring in their stead an inexpressible aura of depth and mystery, of overtones but partly suggested.” (In Praise of Shadows p 23f)

He might as well have written about the nyckelharpa. Just as lacquerware has a history that goes beyond modern life and electricity, the Nyckelharpa has an almost four hundered year old history in Sweden. The instrument design suggest imagination, depth and mystery; in contrast to modern society’s brightness, cleanness and sterility.