Monday, April 07, 2008

I'm not entirely convinced that this one is vintage. The silhouette, the way the violinist's pony tail and apron strings catch the wind, and the reflection of the lights in the water seem entirely too contemporary. And is that the Sydney Opera House I spy in the distance? Though Danish architect Jorn Utzon's design was selected in 1957, and work began on the site in 1959, the Sydney Opera House was not fully operational until after 1973. The outer shells shown here were only completed in about 1967. Is this one doing double duty as a souvenir print?

Feasibly this novelty hankerchief could have been made in the early 70's. I guess it still shocks me that 70s and 80s are considered vintage. But presumably the 60s were the last gasps of the novelty handkerchief market, so this would have been an anachronism even in its day, though I don't know if the production of printed handkerchiefs persisted longer in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. The white crosses, deployed here to indicate shimmering and glittering do feel authentic. But I dunno, something just smells wrong. It's just too perfect, and complements the current reworkings of 70s graphics too nicely.

I'm not sure what "Xiao Ye Que" means. Web searching indicates that it could be a song title, "Green Island Serenade", or perhaps just "Serenade". (If you know, please correct me.) All make sense with the musical motif. And with the Sydney Opera House in the distance, like an aspiration, maybe this hankerchief is a visual pun, or the working of the old joke: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

I like this violinist. I like that she practices beneath a crescent moon in a garden of invisible poppies. The girlishness of her, with her swinging pony tail, pale bow, and frock that is evocative of Alice in Wonderland. Or is that a dirndl? She is not put off by the strong wind, the dark or that the Sydney Opera House is so far away.

Usually hankerchiefs are printed on a white background, or at least a less saturated color. That makes this even more remarkable.


Blogger tea said...

Good break-down, detective. I have to say, I have no clue what's going on here, but I LOVE the color combination & silhouette.

7:15 AM  

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