Kintsugi: The Art of Precious Scars

Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered goldsilver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Source: Wikipedia

Very interesting concept. Instead of hiding the scars you fill them with precious metal and make it work again, so that the repaired part (“scars”) reminds you of the things that went wrong, while you can still use the object/bowl.

However, does it also mean that scars don’t go away…and the bowl, as we knew it, is broken forever. We can console ourselves that it is not repaired and in use again, but we also need to accept that it is not the same bowl now. Well, some may say that isn’t it better than throwing away the broken bowl? It is…not disputing that. However, it is not the same. Accept that too.

Also, given a choice, will someone buy a repaired bowl shown in picture above? Probably not. So, no one would want to enter into a new trade/relation/friendship knowing that it is broken and “refurbished”. How many of us buy “refurbished” products on Amazon, which are in good condition and at a steep discount?

I am not trying to be a pessimist or a negative person. We should definitely try to repair things, relations and systems – because costs (emotional, physical, monetary, and time-wise) of building anything afresh are too high. So we must strive to retain, nurture and improve things we have already invested in.

However, keep the expectations pragmatic. Don’t set the expectations of an “unbroken” bowl experience. The new one would be different – could even be better! But different, for sure…


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