March 31 - Kintsugi!

Posted on March 31, 2020

There is this indie rock band named Death Cab for Cutie, and they released an album on this date in 2015 that is named Kintsugi

I don't really know the album or the band, but I jumped on this anniversary to be able to discuss kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending pottery with gold dust.

Kintsugi means "golden joinery" - another term for this translates as "golden repair" - and of course the powdered gold is mixed with lacquer in order to work as a sort of glue holding broken pieces together. 

As you can see, using gold dust to make a repair actually calls attention to the repair! I have always tried to mend broken pottery with the kind of glue that is invisible when dried...

But kintsugi isn't just a method of repair, it's a philosophy. It treats breakage and repair as an important part of the history of an object. In a way, the idea of not just tossing an object, but fixing it and continuing to use it, is like the English proverb "waste not, want not." However, kintsugi is also part of the larger Japanese idea of embracing and even celebrating the imperfect. It's a part of the philosophy of mushin, "no mind," of not being too attached to things or to the current state of one's life, of being accepting of change and of fate.

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