April 8, 2010

Wabi Sabi – the Art of Imperfection

Posted in Traditions tagged , , , , , at 7:31 am by Liliana

Wabi Sabi Vase

Wabi Sabi Vase

Recently I read an interesting article on the  Japanese art of Wabi Sabi.

Have you ever heard about it?

It is a term that symbolizes beauty found in change and imperfection.

Wabi Sabi is an approach to life and art that originated in 16th century Japanese culture.  It symbolizes, on one hand, a recognition of harmony with nature, and on the other, an appreciation of constant state of flux, transience and decay. In fact, the very essence of beauty is to be found in life’s impermanence and the process of metamorphosis.

This philosophy finds beauty in aging, both in things and in people. It encourages us to be content with what we have, rather than to always strive for more. Many of us live in a state of constant dissatisfaction and unhappiness with the way things are right now. But think how liberating it would be to admit that there is no such thing as perfection! This doesn’t mean that we should settle, or not work hard to improve our lot in life. Wabi Sabi is about finding balance and contentment in what we have, at the same time that we strive for discipline, self-control and enlightenment.

Japanese artists often leave imperfections in their art. A delicate fractures in the glaze of a vase, a rough patch on the surface of a bowl, an unexpected brush stroke in an ethereal watercolor. These purposeful blemishes are a vivid reminder that nothing in life is perfect – nor does it need it to be.