Finding strenght in imperfection

Did you know? 11 info on Kintsugi that may well surprise you!

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The Art of Kintsugi , the Kintsukuroi, is intriguing and mysterious...

Did you know that...


1. The kintsugi masters worked at sea !

Traditionally, the art of Kintsugi is accomplished in an environment completely immuned from dust... So some Kintsugi went to sea and shaved their heads to work in the best conditions!


2. The lacquer (Urushi) is terribly dangerous!

Its Latin name is quite evocative : Toxicodendron vernicifluum. The urushi lacquer used in the kintsugi art is so toxic and potentially allergenic that the advice given to protect oneself on some Kintsugi textbooks is to... pray! If, unfortunately, your skin comes into contact with the Urushi, terrible itching may annoy you for at least two weeks... The Japanese masters say "Congratulations" to their apprentices who undergo this true "baptism of fire" for the first time: they become officially artisans Kintsugi that day!


3. Kintsugi is similar to alchemy !

Kintsugi and alchemy vibrate the same symbols: transmutation of the ordeals ("lead") into gold, blackness and redness Work (black, then red, layer of lacquer work on the 4 elements, transformation of mortified (crushed and pulverized) raw material (Materia prima : First matter), union of the opposites, sublimation...


4. Making a Kintsugi can sometimes take a year!

The Kintsugi is really the art of patience... Between the different layers, and the drying phases, the creation of a Kintsugi can sometimes take several months. They even say that the most beautiful Kintsugis may require a year of work!


5. Kintsugi pieces are so strong that some have them fall on purpose!

Urushi lacquer continues to consolidate during the weeks and months following repair. It is said that the object is more resistant after its repair than before, and that some even go so far as to throw it on the ground a second time to test the repair!


6. Some Kintsugi lovers break new dishes !

It is said that the art of Kintsugi is so beautiful that some connoisseurs deliberately break their precious objects to "kintsuguize" them !


7. The art of Kintsugi can be practiced with any metal !

Gold is the most praised metal... But the art of Kintsugi can be practiced with all the metals, as long as they are reduced to powder: silver, copper, bronze, brass, tin, iron, platinium...


8. Some Kintsugi Masters use teeth to polish the gold !

The last step is to polish the gold. As in the Middle Ages, where boar or wolf teeth were used to burnish gold, each Kintsugi master chooses his favorite tool: agate polisher, fish teeth, ivory...


9. The Kintsugi was born after a big blow of anger!

Rumor has it that the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, in the 15th century, had broken his favorite tea bowl. He had sent it back to China to have him repaired, but the bowl had returned with nasty staples that disfigured it. Furious, the Shogun then summoned his craftsmen to find a better solution... The Art of Kintsugi (Kintsukuroi) was born!


10. The Kintsugi is "Alive"!

Lacquer (Urushi) used for repair Kintsugi is derived from the resin of the lacquer tree . This sap is "alive", and it is paradoxically while "breathing" that it gradually hardens, strengthening over the months...


11. Beyoncé just loves Kintsugi !

Her video clip "Sandcastles » features one, and the words of the song evoke broken dishes, a broken heart, forgiveness, gold, scars, reconciliation... "If We're gonna heal, let it be glorious"...


Find other amazing information about the art of Kintsugi and Japanese culture in the book " Kintsugi , Finding strengh in imperfection. " Andrews McMeel , Céline Santini , 2019.


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