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The Kid Should See This

Kintsugi master and teacher Showzi Tsukamoto demonstrates The Art of Kintsugi (golden joinery), a traditional Japanese method of restoration that honors an object’s history rather than hiding it.


Tsukamoto uses Maki-e, a ‘sprinkled picture’ technique in which “Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder as a decoration using a makizutsu or a kebo brush… The technique was developed mainly in the Heian period (794–1185) and blossomed in the Edo period (1603–1868).” From The Washington Post:

The story of kintsugi may have begun in the late 15th century, when the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a damaged Chinese tea bowl back to China to be fixed. It returned held together with ugly metal staples, launching Japanese craftsmen on a quest for a new form of repair that could make a broken piece look as good as new, or better…

Because the repairs are done with such immaculate craft, and in precious metal, it’s hard to read them as a record of violence and damage. Instead, they take on the look of a deliberate incursion of radically free abstraction into an object that was made according to an utterly different system. It’s like a tiny moment of free jazz played during a fugue by Bach.

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kintsugi - gold powder
The short was filmed and directed by Nick Böse, Timm Markgraf and Klaus Motoki Tonn. Follow Tsukamoto on Instagram.

Watch this next:

Kintsugi & kintsukuroi – The art of pottery mending with gold

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Then watch more Made in Japan videos, including:
• Making a traditional Japanese wooden Kokeshi Doll
Sachio Yoshioka and the Art of Natural Dyeing
• Sampuru – How is Japanese fake food made?

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Rion Nakaya

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