Kintsugi – The Art of Repairing Pottery and Ceramics

What will you do if your favorite pottery or ceramic was broken? It is quite hard to give up and throw it away.

By Saneyuki Owada

Kintsugi (金継ぎ) or Kintsukuroi is a Japanese original technique of mending broken pottery or ceramic with lacquer and powdered gold, silver or pigment. A method of Kintsugi is similar to the Maki-e (蒔絵) technique.

It is said that Kintsugi was started in Muromachi era when the tea ceremony, Chanoyu (茶道) was becoming popular. The great thing about Kintsugi is that you can not only repair or mend broken pottery, but you can also put new value into an object.

Today, I visited the Kintsugi workshop at 2k450 where I could meet Japanese handcraft stores.

Normally Kintsugi repair will take more than one week to make it dry and fixed properly. This is because it is necessary to use lacquer to joint each piece and then it needs to be put into a humid cellar to make it dry. However, during my visit we used new-lacquer that doesn’t need to be put into a special cellar.

It was a really interesting workshop where I could repair my Tobe-yaki mug and it was given new life and made even more beautiful than before it broke. Moreover, I really enjoyed this new experience and was totally engrossed in the work. It sounds very strange to say, but I kind of look forward to breaking something else and then breathe new life into it with Kintsugi.

It is not only restoration; one could say this is art work.

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Bringing new life and making it look nicer than before.

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The Kintsugi kit includes new lacquer, powdered gold, silver, dilute liquid for new-lacquer and washing liquid.

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It is necessary to blend out excess putty to provide a smooth surface.

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We then add lacquer with mixed powdered gold.

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Today we were taught by teacher Miho Fujita on the left.

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All of the students fixed their broken pottery!

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to know more about Kintsugi and the Kintsugi kit.

Saneyuki Owada

Saneyuki Owada is the director of Japanstore.jp, based in Tokyo he is the driving force for both the online store and the recently launched Japanstore.jp online magazine. He is passionate about introducing traditional Japanese craftsmanship to the world and is constantly working hard in order to achieve this goal.