Saturday, October 20, 2018

Art in Zen: wabi-sabi, kintsugi (video)

S. Fitzgerald, Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly Wikipedia edit
Broken cup repaired with gold, sacred scars, beautiful brokenness (

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi () is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete." It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the Three Characteristics of Existence (三法印 sanbōin):
  1. impermanence (無常 mujō) 
  2. disappointment ( ku) 
  3. emptiness, the absence of a self ( ).
The art of kintsugi, the beauty of brokenness, sacred scars (
Kintsugi, Zen art in Japan (
Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.
According to Leonard Koren wabi-sabi can be defined as "the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty, and it occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the far West."

Whereas Andrew Juniper notes that, "If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi."

For Richard Powell, "Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."

Relationship building (
The words wabi and sabi do not translate easily into English. Wabi originally referred to the loneliness of living in nature, remote from society. Sabi meant "chill," "lean," or "withered."

Around the 14th century these meanings began to change, taking on more positive connotations. Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness, or quietness and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects or understated elegance. More

The Beauty of Brokenness: Kintsugi
Kintsugi ("golden joinery"), also known as kintsukuroi ("golden repair"), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique.

As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history -- and therefore preciousness -- of an object, rather than something to disguise. More

(The School of Life) HISTORY OF IDEAS: At the heart of Japanese philosophy and wisdom lies a concept called wabi-sabi, a term that denotes a commitment to the everyday, the melancholic, the broken, and imperfect. It’s a term we need more of in our lives. Produced in collaboration with Mike Booth (somegreybloke), #TheSchoolOfLife

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