Kintsukuroi (keen-tsoo-koo-roy: “golden repair”), also known as kintsugi (keen-tsoo-ghee: “golden joinery”), is the Japanese practice of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.
But kintsukuroi is not just functional repair of a broken item. It is an art form unto itself with a hidden, deeper meaning. The bowls, cups and vases are beautiful before they are broken. They are considered flawless and “perfect” pottery. But then tragedy strikes and these fragile items become shattered. They no longer hold the food, drink, and flowers for which they are intended.
However, instead of being tossed away like some useless garbage, these objects are given another chance. Somebody takes the time to collect and clean the jagged pieces, to understand how they fit, and invest precious time and resources into putting them back together. In the end, the broken pottery is no longer broken… it is whole and functional again. And even more, the pottery has a story and style all it’s own. It is considered more unique and more beautiful for having been broken.
We face many hardships in life. Although we want to be strong and “perfect”, sometimes we get defeated. But don’t let that make you think that you are forever broken or useless. And don’t think that about others when you see they’ve been broken. Collect yourself, and help collect others. Additionally, invest in yourself, and help invest in others. So together we’ll all be unique and beautiful, and able to enjoy the food, drink, flowers and merriment for which we are intended.
Let Me Be the Broken Bowl
“Let me be the empty bowl;
So that I may receive life’s gifts freely.
Let me be the open bowl;
So that I may generously share all I’ve received.
Let me be the broken bowl;
So that I may understand hardship.
And let me be the bowl mended with gold;
So that be grateful and more beautiful for having been broken.”