What exactly is Kintsugi?

Kintsugi, meaning Golden Joinery in Japanese, is the art of repairing cracked or broken pottery with joining’s of Gold or Silver. As a philosophy, if an object has been damaged then it has more of a history and should therefore be celebrated and highlighted, rather than hidden or discarded. As a philosophy, Kintsugi is similar to the the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi – an embracing of the flawed or imperfect.

Kintsugi: The Philosophy Of Celebrating Damage

What are the different types of Kintsugi?

  • A piece is cracked –  The use of gold dust and resin or lacquer will have minimal overlap, in between the crack or to adjoin the missing piece.
  • A piece needs to be replaced – When the piece is missing, a replacement ceramic fragment the replacement will be entirely gold or a gold/lacquer compound
  • Joint Call – Where a piece from another object is used, it is cemented with the gold, creating a patchwork effect.

 

Example of a Kintsugi technique bowl - Wikimedia Commons

Example of a Kintsugi technique bowl – Wikimedia Commons

The Human Experience

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Khalil Gibran

Kintugi is a powerful metaphor for the human experience. We are the summary of our experiences, they allow us to grow. To make a mistake is to be human, to suffer damage is to be human, to wear our scars proudly, is to celebrate the person we have become throughout a journey that will be filled with both joy and sadness. Both should be appreciated for the lessons in which we learn from them.

Those who have scars only become more powerful because of them. None of us get through life unscathed and it is far less painful to display your scars than to continuously try to hide them. The Japanese art of Kintsugi is a powerful reminder to us that it does not matter if we are damaged. Once we have mended the pieces, we will be far more beautiful than ever before.

Here’s a great video on the Eastern Philosophy of Kintsugi:

 

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