Wabi-Sabi: Beauty in Imperfection

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Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a Japanese concept based on the acceptance of transience.  Derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence, it is sometimes described as beauty in imperfection. “Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”

 

The word Wabi originally referred to the loneliness of living in nature, remote from society.  Sabi meant “chill”, “lean” or “withered” Around the 14th century these words began taking on more positive meanings. Wabi now implies rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are apparent in its wear.

 

An example of wabi-sabi style can be seen in some Japanese pottery. In the Japanese tea ceremony, the pottery items used are often rustic and simple-looking, with shapes that are not quite symmetrical, and colors or textures that appear unrefined or simple.   (wikiflickr (image))