BBC – Travel – Kintsugi: Japan’s ancient art of accepting flaw



Many people do not actively shatter their treasured pieces of pottery, however that isn’t constantly the case in Japanese culture. Embellishing damaged ceramics with a lacquer blended with powdered gold belongs to a more than 500-year-old Japanese custom that highlights flaws instead of concealing them. This not just teaches calm when a treasured piece of pottery breaks; it is a tip of the charm of human fragility too.

In a world that so frequently rewards youth, excellence and excess, accepting the old and damaged might appear unusual. However the 15th-Century practice of kintsugi, indicating “to accompany gold”, is a tip to remain positive when things break down and to commemorate the defects and errors of life.

The kintsugi method is an extension of the Japanese approach of wabi-sabi, which sees charm in the insufficient and worth in simpleness. The damaged pieces’ gilded repair generally uses up to 3 months, as the pieces are thoroughly glued together with the sap of a native Japanese tree, delegated dry for a couple of weeks and after that decorated with gold running along its fractures.

In an age of mass production and fast disposal, finding out to accept and commemorate scars and defects is an effective lesson in humankind and sustainability.

( Video by Terushi Sho, text by Yasmin El- Beih)

This video belongs to BBC Reel’s Ultimate Japan playlist.

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