Ken and Michie - Mar 4  2024

Finding Beauty in Brokenness:
How to Appreciate Authentic Kintsugi Pottery

Shop Kintsugi pottery: Celebrate the beauty of imperfection with this unique collection of Japanese ceramics.

Join us on an enlightening exploration as we reveal the key to truly embracing the mesmerizing allure of Kintsugi art. Discover the profound philosophy of beauty in imperfection that lies at the heart of Kintsugi. This guide promises to deepen your appreciation for this ancient art form, transforming your perception and enriching your soul with every piece you encounter.

A Japanese Concept called "Mitate": Imagine an analogy with kintsugi in something else.

The appreciation of Western painting is conceptual, and a work of art is important not because of its material value, but because of the artist's ideas that are embedded in the work and that resonate with the viewer, making it an admirable work of art. When you get down to it, you end up with what is called conceptual art. For example, there is a work of art called "Fountain" by Marcel Duchamp, which is appreciated by art experts, but is generally considered difficult to understand because it looks like just a toilet bowl unless you understand the idea or thoughts of the artist behind the work. It is said that through this work he tried to change the stereotype of "art = painting" to "a work of art is completed in the mind of the viewer, starting from the work in front of him.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp

Photo credit: Google Arts & Culture https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/fountain-marcel-duchamp/1QGek4Lw6B5sBQ?hl=ja

In Japan, there is a long-established concept called "mitate," which is the equivalent of a metaphor in the West. Mitate means to describe an object by showing it to something else. In other words, if you want to express something, don't just draw it as it is, but express it by comparing it to something else. In the past, people appreciated this point of view and called it "interesting.

In the appreciation of Kintsugi works, the restored part is called "scenery," and by creating a new scenery in a broken vessel, we can give it a value it did not have before it was broken, and continue to enjoy the vessel even after restoration, a concept called "mitate. For example, in our past kintsugi works, the kintsugi lines on a white bowl were made to look like "a mountain stream with melting snow" or the kintsugi lines on another vessel were made to look like "a golden river" by daring to draw them thicker than usual and then expressing a carp swimming in the river. We believe that this kind of observation, which results in the concept of the work, is what makes the viewer sympathize with the work.

Explore our collection of Kintsugi tea bowls. This white bowl features elegant gold repairs in the wabi-sabi style.

e.g.1: Mitate, like a mountain stream with melting snow

Beautiful Kintsugi bowl adorned with a hand-painted koi fish. Shop authentic Japanese ceramics with gold repairs.

e.g.2: Mitate, like a carp swimming in the golden river.

Is a vessel restored with kintsugi really "better" than the "real" (original) vessel?

In fact, this is the difficult part of how kintsugi is perceived. People sometimes say that a vessel restored with kintsugi is better than the original. Similarly, when I work on kintsugi, I sometimes feel that the pieces are much more expressive than the original vessels. In the case of artworks, there is a distinction between real and fake, and the real is generally considered better than the fake.

However, in the case of kintsugi, the repair process adds a different concept to the piece than the original vessel. This is the difficult part, because it may be thought that the kintsugi process has made the piece a fake. The word "fake" here means that the original concept of the vessel has been broken. Similarly, if we think of kintsugi as restoration, it means that the kintsugi should not be more prominent than the original vessel, but only enhance the concept of the original vessel as a background. Considering that the repair should be faithful to the original vessel, it would be better to repair it in such a way that it is completely unnoticeable that it has been broken.

Left: Broken ceramic. Right: Restored with Kintsugi! Explore this Japanese repair method that celebrates imperfections. Shop Now!

On the other hand, if we consider the kintsugi piece as a separate work of art from the original vessel, it is often desirable to complement the concept of the original vessel, but it is also acceptable to have a different concept for kintsugi itself. From this perspective, if the viewer finds the kintsugi more "interesting" than the original vessel, then it can be judged as "better" than the original vessel. Although everyone perceives it differently, we would be more than happy if the value added to the original vessel by kintsugi makes you feel a different and better "interest" than the original vessel.

Tips for Appreciating Kintsugi

Full-color image of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing its intricate repairs and unique design Handcrafted Kintsugi pottery, embracing imperfection with golden beauty. Celebrate Wabi-sabi aesthetics with this unique Japanese ceramic.

In light of the above, we would like to discuss the key to appreciating a kintsugi piece, which requires two perspectives: the concept and the skill of the kintsugi itself. Of course, the best kintsugi is one in which both the concept and the skill are excellent. We don't sell the works that are just a visual representation of the kintsugi that everyone has in mind, because we believe that treating these works as art has a negative effect on us, even though these beautiful looking pieces are often popular with those who don't know much about kintsugi. Our brand is based on the concept of "the sustainable world view that is not good as new, but better than new. Our Kintsugi is a Contemporary Art that reconnects a world that has been divided". To realize this, we purchase broken pottery from collaborators who agree with this concept and create Kintsugi pieces to find the new storyteller.

When we talk about skill, we must talk about the technique of kintsugi. The reason we insist on using natural materials is because we believe that by using natural materials, the work will retain its beauty for a period exceeding several hundred years, and that it is desirable to eventually return to the earth completely for environmental reasons. We will describe the Kintsugi technique in detail in the next blog post. We will always focus on the importance of whether the work is carefully crafted and whether the resulting expression is powerful, even when viewed in detail.

Golden Imperfections:
Discover the Soulful Art of Authentic Japanese Kintsugi

Kintsugi is truly a uniquely Japanese art form that embraces beauty in imperfection. We would be delighted if you could personally see and appreciate our authentic Japanese Kintsugi works that honor the history of the vessel and breathe new life (concept) into it, rather than just its appearance.

Shop our philosophy-filled Kintsugi pottery

Full-color image of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its intricate repairs and unique design
More than just pottery: Kintsugi tells a story of resilience, transformed into a living art that enriches and inspires.
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Photo of the front side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of the back side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery with a text overlay indicating the size of the piece
Full-color image of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its intricate repairs and unique design
More than just pottery: Kintsugi tells a story of resilience, transformed into a living art that enriches and inspires.
Video of a skilled Japanese craftsman restoring a broken pottery using the traditional Kintsugi technique
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Photo of the front side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of the back side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery with a text overlay indicating the size of the piece
Embrace the beauty of brokenness: This rotating video of an authentic  Kintsugi pottery invites you to discover the captivating elegance of flaws transformed into art.
Handcrafted authentic Japanese Kintsugi pottery, embracing imperfection with golden beauty.
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece being used in a real-world setting, such as a cup of sake being poured into a Kintsugi cup
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Photo of the top side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of the bottom side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery with a text overlay indicating the size of the piece
Handcrafted authentic Japanese Kintsugi pottery, embracing imperfection with golden beauty.
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece being used in a real-world setting, such as a cup of sake being poured into a Kintsugi cup
Video of a skilled Japanese craftsman restoring a broken pottery using the traditional Kintsugi technique
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Photo of the top side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of the bottom side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery with a text overlay indicating the size of the piece
Rotating video of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, allowing viewers to see the piece from all angles
Handcrafted Kintsugi pottery, embracing imperfection with golden beauty.
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece being used in a real-world setting, such as a cup of sake being poured into a Kintsugi cup
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Photo of the front side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of the bottom side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery with a text overlay indicating the size of the piece
Handcrafted Kintsugi pottery, embracing imperfection with golden beauty.
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece being used in a real-world setting, such as a cup of sake being poured into a Kintsugi cup
Video of a skilled Japanese craftsman restoring a broken pottery using the traditional Kintsugi technique
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Close-up photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery piece, showing the detail of its repairs and craftsmanship
Photo of the front side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of the bottom side of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, showing its overall design and features
Photo of an authentic Kintsugi pottery with a text overlay indicating the size of the piece
Rotating video of an authentic Kintsugi pottery, allowing viewers to see the piece from all angles

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