Kintsugi is an ancestral technique that uses gold dust to mend cracked pottery. Translated literally, Kintsugi means: gold carpentry. The tradition dates back to 15th century Japan and embodies a philosophy that exalts the beauty of imperfection, in which cracks are part of life.
Artist and restoration expert Clara Graziolino (@claragraziolino) has been working with ceramics for over 20 years in her studios in Madrid and Turin. In this video, she shares the origins of Kintsugi and explains its relationship with meditation.
A tradition that dates back 500 years
Legend has it that, in the 15th century, Japanese emperor Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a broken ceramic cup to China to be repaired. On seeing the emperor’s disappointment at the poor job returned to him, Japanese artisans set about restoring his cup more beautifully: using resin varnish to repair it and then elegantly decorating the cracks with gold dust. This tradition continues to captivate Japanese collectors today.
Based on the philosophy of imperfection
Kintsugi is based on the ideals of Zen buddhism and the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which concentrates on appreciating the imperfect. Which is why you need to practice this art patiently, as meditation, connecting to the ceramic work.
A new and beautiful design is born out of the fractured original. Sprinkling the ceramic with gold gives it the beauty of a work of art.
Love discovering this ancestral technique? If you want to learn how to appreciate the beauty of the imperfect through this ceramic restoration technique, don’t miss Clara Graziolino’s online course: Introduction to Kintsugi: Repair Your Pottery with Gold.