Geek Trivia

Kintsugi Is The Japanese Art Of Repairing Pottery With?

Bone Meal
Shark Cartilage
Volcanic Glass
Gold
Cameras Hidden In What Office Equipment Helped The U.S. Gain Access to Soviet Secrets?

Answer: Gold

In most cultures, once a ceramic dish takes a tumble to the floor and shatters, that’s it for the dish. In Japan, however, there is a centuries-old art form devoted to piecing pottery back together. This art form, kintsugi, is the process¬†of repairing damaged pottery with a lacquer mixed with precious powdered metals like gold, silver, or platinum. The end result is a unique looking piece of pottery held together by shimmering seams or patches of metal.

The process is more than just the action of mending the pottery itself, however. It’s a reflection of how traditional Japanese culture treats damaged objects and the imperfection of the repaired object. A well worn and repaired object is valued, and the evidence of breakage and repair seen in a piece of kintsugi-mended pottery is part of that object’s history.¬†The repair process (and the value of the repaired object) also overlaps with the Japanese concept of “wabi-sabi”, an aesthetic that holds that things are most beautiful if they are imperfect, impermanent, or incomplete. Kintsugi ties together the two concepts by taking a damaged thing, embracing the imperfections, and highlighting them with beautiful veins of precious metal.

Photo by Daderot.