Kintsugi: The ancient Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with “liquid gold”

The traditional Japanese art of Kintsugi gives broken pottery a new lease of life and teaches one to be mindful of waste.

When a ceramic object breaks, the kintsugi technique involves using gold dust and resin (or lacquer) to reattach the broken pieces. The technique consists in joining fragments and giving them a new, more refined aspect.

Built upon the principles of the Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy – which celebrates imperfection, impermanence and incompleteness – the origin of kintsugi dates back to 15th century Japan, when Japanese craftsmen were looking for more aesthetic means to repair broken ceramics.

Every repaired piece is unique, because of the randomness with which ceramics shatter and the irregular patterns formed that are enhanced with the use of metals. The resulting piece thus incorporates the unique cracks into its design, and the gold lines add to the beauty of the piece while strengthening it.

The art form of kintsugi is seen to many as a metaphor for brokenness and healing—that embracing one’s brokenness and imperfections can create something unique, beautiful and strong.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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