The Art of Kintsugi (golden joinery) is a traditional Japanese method of restoration that honors an object’s history rather than hiding it. Kintsugi master and teacher Showzi Tsukamoto demonstrates the art form in this documentary short by Motoki Tonn, who writes:
“Behind this is the idea that all things are unique – and breakage is not the end…
“When we apply the teachings of Kintsugi philosophy to our lives, this craft can unleash the power to make a situation appear in a new light. Life experiences that we remember as ‘broken’ or ‘lost’ can be given a new twist…
“The scars are not concealed but emphasized. They are not suppressed but given appreciation.”
Tsukamoto uses Maki-e, a ‘sprinkled picture’ technique in which “Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder as a decoration using a makizutsu or a kebo brush… The technique was developed mainly in the Heian period (794–1185) and blossomed in the Edo period (1603–1868).” From The Washington Post:
“The story of kintsugi may have begun in the late 15th century, when the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a damaged Chinese tea bowl back to China to be fixed. It returned held together with ugly metal staples, launching Japanese craftsmen on a quest for a new form of repair that could make a broken piece look as good as new, or better… “
“Because the repairs are done with such immaculate craft, and in precious metal, it’s hard to read them as a record of violence and damage. Instead, they take on the look of a deliberate incursion of radically free abstraction into an object that was made according to an utterly different system. It’s like a tiny moment of free jazz played during a fugue by Bach.”
Watch this next: Kintsugi & kintsukuroi – The art of pottery mending with gold.
Follow Showzi Tsukamoto on Instagram.
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