Wabi-Sabi: The Beauty of Imperfection

Tea Bowl

One of my most treasured objects is a hand-thrown tea bowl that I bought from Japan.  What delights me about it is the fact that there is a slight dip in the otherwise perfect rim – almost imperceptible, but there nonetheless.

You see, years ago I had read that Japanese master artists and artisans, who were clearly more than capable of producing flawless work, often deliberately left an imperfection in whatever they were creating.

This morning I came across a blog post by Tai Carmen, blogger of Parallax Journal, that caught my eye and my interest.  I’ve re-blogged it here so that others who may not have seen her blog can enjoy it too.  Here it is:



By Tai Carmensite credit: www.mindful.org/in-your-life/arts-and-creativity/wabi-sabi-for-artists-designers-poets-philosophers

“Wabi-Sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent & incomplete.” ~ Leonard Koren

“Wabi is the beauty that springs from the creative energy that flows in all things, animate or not. It’s a beauty that, like nature itself, can appear with dark and light, sad and joyful, rough and gentle.” ~ Makoto Ueda

“Beauty is radiant and tactile, not airbrushed.” ~ Joe Hefferon 

The term Wabi-Sabi represents a Japanese aesthetic philosophy that embraces authenticity over perfection.

Characterized by asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity—modesty & intimacy—wabi-sabi values natural objects & processes as emblems of our transitory existence. Rust, woodgrain, freckles—the texture of life.

grandmothers-hands-todd-fox, site credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/grandmothers-hands-todd-fox.html

Developed in the 15th century in reaction to the lavish, ostentatious ornamentation of the aristocracy, wabi-sabi centers around three principals: “nothing is perfect, nothing lasts, and nothing is finished.”

“The initial inspiration for wabi-sabi’s metaphysical, spiritual, and moral principles come from ideas about simplicity…

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