Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Repairing and Renewing Broken Pieces

Most of us can relate to this – a piece of your favourite porcelain cup given by your best friend falls by mistake. You look at the pieces scattered on the floor and are filled with sadness.  But you don’t give up and try every possible way to fix the pieces together. But with all the trouble and mess that is created you would rather just give up.

But what if we told you there was a way to fix this broken pieces and make it also look a lot better than the original piece, wouldn’t you be over joyed?

Kintsugi (or kintsukuroi) is a Japanese method that is used to repaire broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The theory behind the method is to recognise the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it.

The exact translation of Kinstugi would be “golden joinery” or “to patch with gold”.

It is believed that Kintsugi originated in the 15th C, when a Japanese shogun broke a favourite tea bowl and sent it back to China to be fixed. But the repair job, which was done with metal staples (being the standard for repair at that time), detracted from the beauty of the bowl. Disappointed, the shogun enlisted Japanese craftsmen to come up with a more aesthetically pleasing solution. Kintsugi was born according to

Kintsugi repair makes it appear as though the original piece was mended with gold, but the original process is essentially a form of lacquer art. Broken pieces are glued back together using urushi lacquer, derived from the sap of the Chinese lacquer tree. The final layer of urushi is covered with fine gold powder and then burnished.

Gold Kintsugi on a blue crockery 

A method that does not only repair broken pieces but renews it in the process

 “Our imperfections make us beautiful”

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Behold the beauty of Kintsugi

The art in and of itself teaches us that in life it’s okay to embrace our scars and through the imperfection come out stronger than before and probably be the best version of yourself. Looking at it from another point of view it could also help you discover yourself through the mishap or broken pieces.

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