Kintsugi: The Art of Embracing Damage
“When the Japanese mend broken objects they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold, because they believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”
Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer resin and powdered gold, silver, or platinum. This ancient art is based on the philosophical belief that the process of breakage and repair becomes an important aspect of the object’s history. Therefore, rather than disguise the fact that it has been broken, the artisan seeks to illuminate the imperfections.
This presents a perfect metaphor for the human healing experience in that it incorporates the concept of impermanence, as well as an understanding of ever-increasing value resulting from the accumulation of unique experiences. Kintsugi helps us conceptualize the beauty of maturation by encouraging us to embrace the idea that we become more beautiful as we overcome adversity and suffering.
Enjoy a demonstration of this ancient art as you watch Kintsugi: The Meaning of Mending, a short video by Adam Fulford:
Pui Ying Kwan, P. Y. “Exploring Japanese Art and Aesthetic as Inspiration for Emotionally Durable Design.” Retrieved from: http://www.designedasia.com/2012/Full_Papers/Exploring%20Japanese%20Art%20and%20Aesthetic.pdf