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Filled in: How to start 'kintsugi' in Japan or online

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By Aidan McFarlane

Kintsugi (golden joinery) is a distinctively Japanese technique of restoring broken pottery and ceramics using urushi (lacquer) with metallic powders to give the appearance of gold and silver lining where the cracks once were.

The original technique has been meticulously preserved for centuries to prolong the life of ornate pottery pieces. Nowadays, kintsugi is a widely available and trendy hobby enjoyed on your own or with the help of guidance from a master at a workshop or class in Japan.

Moreover, it’s pretty easy hobby to pick up, so here’s everything you need to know to start the timeless Japanese art of kintsugi.

What is kintsugi?

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A broken soba cup made anew with golden cracks. Photo: iStock/ Marco Montalti

The decorated scars on the piece of kintsugi pottery are thought of as scenery; rather than pretending that the scars do not exist or trying to conceal them, they are accepted as part of the piece’s history and thus are renewed in new harmony.

Kintsugi has been practiced since the Muromachi era (1336–1573). During this time, tea ceremonies were part of everyday life and were an essential aspect of all formal meetings and rituals in Japanese feudal life. The tea sets themselves were each very ornate and one of a kind. Accordingly, this meant that the pieces were extremely expensive and irreplaceable, causing many Japanese people to choose to repair their pieces rather than throw them away.

The pieces were far too precious just to be put back together with dull resins, so more aesthetic means of repair had to be considered. Hence, kintsugi became a widely practiced art form thereafter, synonymous with the Japanese notion of wabi-sabi and mottainai (roughly: waste not, want not).

Tools you’ll need

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A kit from Amazon has everything you need for kintsugi at home. Photo: iStock/ BigCircle

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

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2 Comments
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In accordance with the instructions given, actually breaking a porcelain piece in order to do kintsugi, would appear to nullify the concepts of wabi-sabi & mottainai.

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I do not find anything aesthetic about kintsugi. Definitely do not brake one to do this, just buy a new one!!! The original looked better. The potter who made it, broke all the ones he did not like, but he did not do kintsugi on them.

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