“It's that heart of gold, and stardust shine that makes you beautiful.”
- a precious yellow metallic element, highly malleable and ductile, and not subject to oxidation or corrosion. Symbol: Au; atomic weight: 196.967; atomic number: 79; specific gravity: 19.3 at 20°C. - a quantity of gold coins: 'to pay in gold' - a monetary standard based on this metal; gold standard. - money; wealth; riches. - something likened to this metal in brightness, preciousness, superiority, etc.: 'a heart of gold' - a bright, metallic yellow color, sometimes tending toward brown.
- Gold symbolises the purity of the spiritual aspect of "All That Is". It is symbolic of spirituality and development in the realm of complete understanding, allowing one to both attain and maintain communion with the source of all being.
- Gold has been called "the master healer". It is an excellent mineral for purification of the physical body.
Kintsugi (金継ぎ, 'golden joinery'), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い, 'golden repair'),is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage usually with laquer dusted or mixed with gold.
Kintsugi is the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, representing an "aesthetic philosophy that embraces authenticity over perfection.
This expression is intimately tied to Buddhism (specifically Zen) and derived from the Three Marks of Existence (or sanbōin)—the Buddhist teaching that all things have “impermanence” (mujō), “suffering” or damage (ku), and “non-self” (kū). Therefore, items exhibiting wabi-sabi are seen to be more beautiful with age. And the more fragile, broken, or individual a humble object is, the more it can be appreciated.
In order to translate and understand the term, it’s easiest to separate wabi-sabi into two words. While “wabi” refers to the beauty found in asymmetric and unbalanced items, “sabi” describes the beauty of aging and celebrates the impermanence of life through the passage of time.
Characterised by asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity — modesty & intimacy — wabi-sabi values natural objects & processes as emblems of our transitory existence."
“Wabi sabi is a different kind of looking, a different kind of mindset,” explains Robyn Griggs Lawrence, author of Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House. “It’s the true acceptance of finding beauty in things as they are,” he says.
Bringing wabi-sabi into your life doesn’t require money, training, or special skills. It takes a mind quiet enough to appreciate muted beauty, courage not to fear bareness, willingness to accept things as they are — without ornamentation. It depends on the ability to slow down, to shift the balance from doing to being, to appreciating rather than perfecting.
Wabi-sabi represents a precious cache of wisdom that values tranquillity, harmony, beauty and imperfection, and can strengthen your resilience in the face of materialism.
It gently motions you to relax, slow down, step back from the hectic modern world and find enjoyment and gratitude in everything you do.
Embracing and accepting the beauty of our scars can put us at odds with a culture that attempts to sell us perfection, youth, and improvement in the guise of shiny new things. But these things, despite their market price, come off a factory assembly line, and their value might literally be a dime a dozen. Maybe the real value is in our treasures that have been fixed and patched and healed with the gold of experience, wisdom, love, and kindness.
A 'wabi-sabi home' is full of rustic character, charm, and things that are uniquely yours… If an old chest has significance to you, for example, a missing drawer pull doesn’t have to be an eyesore. It can also be a sign that the piece has been used and enjoyed.
Think about a color palette that mimics what’s found in nature: greens, grays, earth tones, and rusts. This creates an atmosphere of tranquillity and harmony. Every object in your home should be beautiful, useful, or both.
Although the philosophy can be appreciated in many aspects of life, few things capture the essence of wabi-sabi better than Japanese pottery, where the most treasured pieces are often cracked, patinated, or even incomplete. A classic example of wabi-sabi is the art of kintsugi, where cracked pottery is repaired using gold lacquer as a way to showcase the beauty of its damage rather than hiding it.
Kintsugi (or kintsukuroi) is a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognise the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. The process usually results in something more beautiful than the original.
The origins of Kintsugi are said to date to the Muromachi period, when the Shogon of Japan, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408) broke his favourite tea bowl and, distraught, sent it to be repaired in China. But on its return, he was horrified by the ugly metal staples that had been used to join the broken pieces, and charged his craftsmen with devising a more appropriate solution. What they came up with was a method that didn’t disguise the damage, but made something properly artful out of it.
Kintsugi is the general concept of highlighting or emphasizing imperfections, visualizing mends and seams as an additive or an area to celebrate or focus on, rather than absence or missing pieces. Modern artists experiment with the ancient technique as a means of analyzing the idea of loss, synthesis, and improvement through destruction and repair or rebirth.
'Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated... a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin....Mushin is often literally translated as "no mind," but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. ...The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself.'
Christy Bartlett : The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics
Candice Kumai, chef and author of Kintsugi Wellness: the Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit, explores how this idea can be brought into how we treat ourselves. She offers the image of using kintsugi as a “metaphor for your life, to see the broken, difficult, or painful parts of you as radiating light, gold, and beauty.
Kumai became aware of this practice from her ancestral home when her own broken places became too much for her to ignore. She offers these ideas as guideposts for exploring and appreciating where you are in your journey, and what you have gone through to get here:
Chart your progress. “Like a map of your heart,” writes Kumai, “kintsugi show us the lessons and reveals the truth.” When we can begin to see the lessons, and how we have learned and grown from our challenges, then we can begin to find the healing. She reminds us, “your kintsugi cracks become gold by doing the work.”
Be kind to yourself. We can only truly offer kindness to others when we have first offered it to ourselves. As a practice of self-love and forgiveness, kintsugi reminds us that “the most beautiful, meaningful parts of yourself are the ones that have been broken, mended, and healed.”
The practice doesn’t end. In this journey of life, there really is no destination. We are always learning, and there is always more for us to understand. Kumai writes, “to practice Japanese wellness, you must approach it with an open and honest heart.” This is simply about being willing to grow and to learn.
Your beauty is in your brokenness. We are forever changed by our pain and our struggles. Kintsugi is about seeing these experiences for what they have to teach us, and the beauty they bring to our lives. “If you could see my heart,” writes Kumai, “you would see there are golden cracks all over it. Some run deep, some are still being sealed, and many more are still to come.”
This is a powerful representation of human life. I really rile the message of 'authenticity', 'beauty' and 'vulnerability' that kintsugi and wabi-sabi offers of embracing any 'scars' and 'imperfections' that we all are and that makes us unique.