In Japan, some craftsmen practice the 500 year old practice of kintsugi, or golden joinery. This ancient Japanese practice recognizes beauty in broken things. The process includes restoring a broken piece with a lacquer that is mixed with gold, silver or platinum. The kintsugi method is based on a philosophy, not of replacement, but of restoration and reverence for the history of the item. Kyoto, Japan-based Muneaki Shimode is the youngest professional kintsugi craftsman at 27 and he believes that, “The importance in kintsugi is not the physical appearance, it is…the beauty and importance that stays in the one who is looking at the dish.” He explains that in Japanese culture, “it’s very important that we understand the spiritual backgrounds or the history behind… the material.”
I’ve been thinking about how kintsugi can be a powerful metaphor for embracing the brokenness within ourselves. What if we human beings were to wrap our brokenness, our shortcomings into something beautiful and whole? What if instead of judging and critiquing ourselves, we practiced acceptance and compassion with ourselves? What if we were to find beauty in our brokenness? I am excited to explore how the beautiful art form of kintsugi, can be a metaphor for healing ourselves and our world.