Many videos circulating on the internet show a version of Kintsugi that doesn’t use traditional techniques or materials, often resulting in repairs that do not last.
Why don’t they show the authentic way? First of all, it takes a longer than a few minutes to do. The downside of a “quick fix” is it often comes with restrictions such as not being able to hold hot liquids or simply breaks again in a few days or weeks.
We collaborated with a restoration artisan to create a video showcasing the technique in its most authentic form. While it takes longer to do, it will not only breathe life back into your item but also make it last for decades, if not centuries, to come.
The Kintsugi technique originated under Ashigaka Yoshimasa (1435-1490) during the Muromachi period. Yoshimasa liked surrounding himself with artists an poets in his temple-palace Ginkaku-ji and it was him who gave birth to the cha no yu culture, the tea ceremony, in Japan.
When one day his precious cup, which is given the highest importance in the tea ceremony, broke, he brought it to the most skillful Chinese ceramist who repaired the broken parts with iron braces to sew the fractures. He then brought it to a Japanese ceramist who repaired it by glueing the broken pieces with urushi lacquer and finishing it up with a dusting of gold. This is when Kintsugi was born.
Since the original process is essentially a form of lacquer art, the repair can be kept simple by keeping the dark brown color of the lacquer itself or painting it with black, red, silver or any color you’d like.
Meet the Tsutsumi Family. Since 1905 they have dedicated their lives to the craft of Urushi refinery and are now the largest distributor of Japan Made Urushi.
The current successor Takuya has been inspiring us through his many projects advocating for the survival of the struggling industry. He not only teaches children and in colleges but also started to plant Urushi trees in the outskirts of Kyoto in the hopes that people can experience the whole lifecycle of planting, growing, harvesting and creating.
The Japanese way of keeping in harmony with the seasons and the local environment will always be at our core. That’s why Pieces of Japan is committed to prioritizing the sustainability of craftsmen and the natural resources that support them.
We believe that in sharing beautiful, durable, handmade products that last for generations, we can take steps away from our current throwaway culture to create meaningful connections with the things we own.