Kintsugi: Creations Carrying The Will To Heal

It's wonderful to be able to acknowledge that whatever hardships people go through, they're not alone in that. The existence of a community gives people something to lean on during tough times. That deep companionship can get through our most difficult times sometimes. However, this sense of companionship isn't only found in humans, but in inanimate objects as well. This probably sounds pretty unrealistic but kintsugi, a form of traditional Japanese art style dispels those doubts. 

When our most cherished vase or a bowl tips over and shatters into a hundred tiny pieces, we discard them from our lives with a heavy heart. However, kintsugi, the traditional Japanese art practice accentuates a distinct form of repairing the broken pottery item. This practice is known as kintsugi (金継ぎ) which,in literal terms, means golden (“kin”) & repair (“tsugi”). This traditional Japanese art uses some specific material as an adhesive. It can be liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold with the purpose of joining back together the pieces of a broken pottery item and improving the cracks. 


Kintsugi Bowl


The famous technique includes joining the multiple fragments and giving them a more refined and a-never-seen-before shape. Each repaired piece that is created with diligence and precise execution is, in its essence, absolutely unique. This is due to the fact that the way any ceramic item breaks, it acquires very random and equally distinct cracks that are enhanced through the practice of kintsugi with the use of liquid gold or silver. With this traditional technique, the end result of kintsugi is bound to be a very unique & distinct work of art as it is created on the foundation of the multiple dissimilar cracks that are formed when the pottery object breaks and loses its original shape & design and leaves a very vast space for creativity.

This unique art style carries a profound metaphor of healing in the core of it. It celebrates second chances in human life. In the era of a fast paced society, where there's very little to no space for healing and forgiveness, the kintsugi art style celebrates the power of efforts in order to move on and heal from despair and the hard times we human beings go through in our daily lives. The cracks on the ceramics act as a metaphor for the scars of traumatic incidents or times of distress that we face in our everyday lives. The liquid gold or silver that is used to piece back the broken ceramic item is seen as a metaphor for our efforts in the healing process with hope to lead a better life. 

Kintsugi tools and process


 Kintsugi essentially celebrates the preciousness of life as it talks of resilience and compassion towards one's life. This traditional Japanese art style carries the hope for the transformation for the betterment of our own lives just like how a broken ceramic item is pieces back together, a broken heart also carries the same potential. It's about learning the courage of letting go and moving on in order to cherish and live life for as long as it allows us to. 

 Kintsugi is more than just about the aesthetic existence, it carries multiple philosophical ideals with itself that has enabled it to last and be respected for multiple centuries till now. It is born from the Japanese feeling of mushin that depicts the acceptance of change by having the courage of living with it. Additionally, Kintsugi is heavily related to the philosophy of wabi sabi that is all about embracing the existence of imperfections in our life and finding the resilience to live despite the presence of them. It suggests the philosophy of seeing the positives of life more than the negatives. 

All images via Unsplash

Written by Ayusshi

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Explore more