A plate unsuitable for Kintsugi

To live with scars






Wandering in an vintage shop, my friend and I were both attracted to the same porcelain plate which appeared crudely made and of an unknown origin. The white enamel glaze was unevenly applied; at the bottom of the plate, there were even a few spots where the firing process undesirably exposed the clay. The plate was thick but light probably due to the low density, making the pottery particularly fragile, which somehow also explained its shabby rim. The plate was simply full of defects but for some inexplicable reasons, we simply fell in love with it.

“Shall we do Kintsugi for this plate?”, I asked. My friend shrugged and said, “It’s not quite suitable for Kintsugi. It looks good this way.”

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. It involves a lengthy process but after the joinery, the cracks would glitter with charm. In a way, the original damage gives rise to the beautiful patterns, where the imperfection bears a state of perfection. Despite the magnificent transformation, sometimes there are pottery wares unsuitable for Kintsugi.

I used my hand to feel the damage along the plate’s rim, I had a sense that the texture of the clay was a pathway to the container’s past. Rather than giving it a facelift, why shouldn’t we embrace the marks carved by its own history? We always have an unconscious intention to repair or cover a defect or a wound, but forget the possibility of accepting its existence. To see it as a natural occurrence is actually a kind of harmony of being.

At last, we brought home this plate which is not quite suitable for Kintsugi, and cherish its worn out state and its imperfection.