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Kintsugi – Japanese Art Of Mending Broken Ceramics With Gold

Many people across the world can say they feel a need to preserve history. How we do it and why we do it vary by individual person and culture. The history that the population at large enjoys is preserved by those who make it their life’s mission to make sure we know our own history. One tradition of an Asian nation has stood the test of time.

Kintsugi (gold seems), is a Japanese tradition of putting back together broken ceramics using gold pigment and lacquer. Using these two materials, artisans have created beautiful pieces that appear as though liquid gold was poured into the track to keep them secured to each other.

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The interest of people from all over the world has brought Kintsugi into the mainstream, prompting people to write books on such things as self-help and wellness. While a few people like to say that the ‘art-form’ is a metaphorical practice that teaches one to embrace their flaws, it was simply a means of repairing ceramic pottery.

There is very little information on the origins of the craft and many stories exist. One states that a Japanese military officer asked for repairs for a precious bowl that originated in China and came back with stapes.

Other stories state that in the 17th century, a Japanese warrior associated with tea ceremonies would break his own ceramics and use Kintsugi to repair them. The unnamed man was accused even accused of breaking unassuming ceramics and trying to elevate their value with the art form.

The lacquer used in the process is urushi, a substance with a tree sap base. It has been used for over 9,000 years in a number of different mediums.

Gen Saratani, a third-generation Japanese lacquerer, stated that the entire process isn’t done using gold, despite popular belief.The gold pigment is stroked over the lacquer between the cracks.

Pretty amazing way to turn broken ceramic into something slightly more valuable. And if you’re wondering, it’s totally safe to eat or drink out of a Kintsugi bowl.

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