Kintsukuroi: The Japanese Art of Embracing Broken and Flawed Things

Are you someone who recognizes beauty in broken things? Do you embrace damaged things? If yes, then ‘Kintsukuroi’ will not seem foreign to you.

Unnatural it may sound but Kintsukuroi or Kintugi is the Japanese art of restoring broken pottery and ceramic objects with lacquer. In layman language, it’s an ‘art of broken pieces’.

Sometimes referred as ‘golden joinery’ or ‘golden repair’, the technique is used to repair broken pottery with special lacquer fused with gold, silver or platinum.

Kintsukuroi: The Japanese Art of Embracing Broken and Flawed Things

Kintsukuroi: The Japanese Art of Embracing Broken and Flawed Things

You often hear people saying, “We should see a glass of water half full than half empty”. This artwork is somewhat based on the positive mindset of Japanese people who consider breakage and repair as an object’s history rather than keeping it behind the veil.

Where Kintsukuroi came from?

Not only is this Japanese art interesting but the story of ‘how it came into being’ is also very appealing.

Old sources say, in the late 15th century Japanese sent a broken Chinese tea bowl to China for repairs and the end-product he got had metal staples. It looked so ugly that Japanese craftsmen looked around for something more artistic and beautiful. Their curiosity and enthusiasm marked the birth of Kintsukuroi, the art of repairing broken pottery.

It’s said they were so pleased with the art that they deliberately smashed expensive pottery so that it could be mended with seams of gold. Strange but its true!!

With a 500-year old history of golden joinery, the Japanese craftsman do not toss the broken pieces in the trash (like us!) but bring them together to get a product with an enhanced aesthetic appeal and artistic value.

Wabi-Sabi and Kintsukuroi: Both are interwoven

How did you feel the last time you dropped your ceramic bowl that split into pieces? I’m sure you must have been shocked and annoyed.

Unlike you (and me obviously!) wabi-sabi is a philosophy that “finds beauty in broken and flawed things.” While Western people consider broken objects as value/money lost, Kintsukuroi practitioners place their trust in never-ending consumerism that comes from restoration.

The ‘golden joinery’ does not convey replacement but values marks of wear by its use.

Kintsukuroi: Resurrecting someone from the dead

Kintsukuroi art lovers’ utter believe in awe, reverence and restoration can be easily portrayed through their rationale for keeping an object around even after it fell apart and then drawing attention to its cracks and repairs.

It’s as if ‘resurrecting someone from the dead’ and simply taking breakage as an event in the life of an object instead of considering it it’s end. So, Kintsukuroi reincarnates the object that would otherwise end up being in trash.

This Japanese art form is not something spiritual but is a way of embracing the flawed object that looks more beautiful than the original product.

This picture prompt was posted under the #BlogBuddy initiative by @Blogchatter.

Vikram Kamboj

Aspiring Media Enthusiast, Cricket Tragic, Football Fanatic, Avid Reader, Amateur Photographer & Wannabe Sports Writer.

6 Comments

  1. I have heard of both the concepts before wabi sabi and kintsukuroi and philosophically they appeal to my senses in so many ways. perfections is outdated and overrated, flawed life and humans make for an endearing experience 🙂

  2. Love the meaning and philosophy behind wabi-sabi and kintsukuroi…they can be implemented in our lives too..embracing flaws and weaknesses make you a better person and help you grow.

  3. Wow that is truly informativeं. I have seen this but never thought of how it must have come about. Keep these beautiful things coming

  4. Only Japanese can turn waste into art. Hats off to them and this kind of pottery does look very interesting.

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