How Japanese Kintsugi Masters Restore Pottery by Beautifying the Cracks


A couple of years back, we included here on Open Culture the Japanese art of kintsugi, whose specialists fix damaged pottery with gold in a way that stresses instead of conceals the fractures. Ever since, the concept appears to have actually caught the Western creativity, motivating no couple of online examinations however likewise books with titles like Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit, andKintsugi: Embrace Your Imperfections and Find Happiness — the Japanese Way But as kintsugist Yuki Matano reminds us, “kintsugi is primarily viewed as a refined fixing strategy in Japan. Japanese individuals do not typically associate kintsugi with art treatment or psychological health.”

To return to the essence of kintsugi, and acquire a clearer understanding of its tiresome physical nature, it could not harm to enjoy a couple of kintsugists at work. Take Hiroki Kiyokawa, who assesses his 45 years practicing the art in Kyoto– not without revealing his own concepts about how he feels he’s likewise “bring back the damaged parts of myself”– in the BBC video above.

Or, for a more contemporary discussion, take a look at this tutorial video from Chimahaga, a kintsugist who recently released his own Youtube channel committed to describing what he does. He’s even uploaded videos about not simply kintsugi, (金継ぎ, or “golden joinery”), however likewise gintsugi (銀継ぎ), which attains a similarly striking however various result utilizing silver rather of gold.

Kintsugi plainly isn’t a pastime you can master over a couple of weekends. You do not have to be a long-lasting Kyoto craftsmen to benefit from discovering it, as highlighted by psychologist Alexa Altman in

. Having actually discovered kintsugi in Japan, she practices it here in a rather non-traditional method, fixing not pottery harmed gradually or by mishap, however pottery which she’s smashed on function. The bowl, in this case, represents “some element of yourself”; the hammer is “an instrument of modification”; the glue is “everything about connection”; the fractures and holes “can be representations of loss”; the gold is “magnificence, an event.” Whether you accept these metaphors, those who practice kintsugi– or any craft requiring such a degree of perseverance and concentration– certainly enhance their mental state in so doing.

Kintsugi: The Centuries-Old Japanese Craft of Repairing Pottery with Gold & Finding Beauty in Broken Things

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Related Content: Colin Marshall Based in Seoul, broadcas and composes ts on cities, language, and culture. His tasks consist of the Substack newsletterBooks on Cities , the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles The City in Cinema and the video series @colinmarshall Follow him on Twitter at Facebook or on



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