Kintsugi [金継ぎ] is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. Instead of seeing cracks as something to be disguised, it is thought that the cracks form a unique, one-of-a-kind pattern (it is not easy to replicate the exact same cracks after all), and that the cracks become part of the history of an object. Moreover, this technique can also be used to combine fragments from different broken articles creatively to form a new item.
Recently, I saw a kintsugi tea cup appearing on a Panasonic advertisement. The theme of the advertisement is about searching for answers to lifelong active employment in an aging country. It is a clever allegory to an individual human being, who is likely to be broken many times over in this sad, fleeting world.
In Japan, not only does broken pottery receive a second life through kintsugi. Once, the long-running NHK documentary series on aesthetics named Bi no Tsubo [美の壺] also reported on how the celebrity antique dealer Mitsuo Katsumi [勝見充男] chooses pieces of broken pottery to be used as hashioki [箸置き], or chopsticks rest.
No other country on earth seems to celebrate the aesthetic attitude that broken is beautiful as much as Japan, or even to imagine that broken can be beautiful. I wonder why.