Tunes for a Monday Morning
Finding the door

The beauty of brokenness

Kintsugi Bowl

Artist Lunar Hine, who lives up the street from me, has recently discussed the concept of beauty that comes from brokenness, quoting Billie Mobayad:

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damaged and has a history it becomes more beautiful."  What Mobayad is referring to is the ancient art of Kintsugi.

Related to this, as Tai Carmen explains, is the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, representing an "aesthetic philosophy that embraces authenticity over perfection. Characterized by asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity — modesty & intimacy — wabi-sabi values natural objects & processes as emblems of our transitory existence."


I am often astonished by the beauty and strength that can arise from our own brokeness -- from wounds, and scars, and the scratch of the brambles as we journey through the deep, dark forest.

"The beauty that emerges from woundedness is a beauty infused with feeling," wrote the Irish philosopher John O'Donohue, "a beauty different from the beauty of landscape and the cold perfect form. This is a beauty that has suffered its way through the ache of desolation until the words or music emerged to equal the hunger and desperation at its heart.

Buried Moon by Edmund Dulac

"It must also be said," O'Donohue continued, "that not all woundedness succeeds in finding its way through to beauty of form. Most woundedness remains hidden, lost inside forgotten silence. Indeed, in every life there is some wound that continues to weep secretly, even after years of attempted healing. Where woundedness can be refined into beauty a wonderful transfiguration takes place."

It seems to me that this is precisely what so many traditional fairy tales are all about: the transformation of a wounded soul into a hero, the transfiguration of great calamity (a spell, a curse, the loss of home or fortune) into a new life of potential and promise.

Donkeyskin by Nadezhda Illarionova

We emerge from the fairy tale woods (if we emerge at all) with the "magic" of strength,  fortitude, and compassion; we're broken and then mended with gold.

Beautiful not despite the scars we bear, but because of them. And all they represent.

Kintsugi bowl Illustrations above: "Buried Moon' by Edmund Dulac (1882 - 1953), and "Donkeyskin" by the contemporary Russian illustrator Nadezhda Illarionova. If you're new to this blog, you'll find additional quotes by running your cursor over the pictures. Today's post is for Lunar.