In Japan there are many ancient traditions and teachings. One of them is to accept the imperfection of life. This is not so easy. We can be grateful for the life we have, but it will never be perfect. Since everything can also change and things break, we should learn to live with that. Kintsugi is a form of acceptance in the realm of aesthetics. The word means "gold connection."
The art of repairing
As you may know, Kintsugi is a method of repairing ceramic or porcelain items when they have been broken. The cracked pieces are not removed, but reassembled and glued together with urushi lacquer. Missing shards are filled with a putty containing powdered gold or other metals. The flaw is made particularly visible and gives the old object a new, very special shine. The patterns and fine golden lines create a unique work of art. The broken crockery, which was useless, achieves a new beauty and remains useful. By accepting the imperfection of the object, through a fine and patient refurbishment, it can shine anew and continue to be used.
The aesthetic concept behind Kintsugi
Do you know wabi-sabi? In Zen Buddhism, it roughly means seeing beauty in the simplicity and imperfection of things. Through this aesthetic concept, age and impermanence, for example, are also valued. Kintsugi is one of many expressions of wabi-sabi. In Japan, an aesthetic of simplicity is captivating. Wabi-Sabi reminds us of the closeness to nature and the transience of life, at the same time the concept is timeless.
Do it yourself
In Europe, many people have been trying to get back to sustainability and reuse of everyday objects for a few years now. DIY workshops and repair cafés can be found in almost every major city. So it only makes sense to also bring the Japanese art of kintsugi to Germany, for example, to continue using broken dishes. Besides, the gold decorations look dazzling and remind us of the philosophy of wabi-sabi.
MYCONBINI tip: If you want to try Kintsugi yourself, we have a beginner DIY set for you. We'd love for you to tell us about your artful attempts at repairing.