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Wabi-Sabi: Ancient Art of Embracing Imperfection

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

In the glossy age of materialism, we often find ourselves trapped in the game of wins and losses. We don’t seem to find content in anything we achieve or accomplish. There’s always something bigger and better to chase. Bigger house, faster cars, better lifestyle and so on. In the search for perfect life, and chase for perfect happiness, we often forget the eternal truth – nothing is perfect, and everything is perishable. In the search for answers of existentialism and finding answers to what is one’s purpose in life, the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi shreds light. 

Wabi-Sabi is an ancient Japanese world view that glorifies the accepting nature of all there is, to accept that nothing is nearly perfect, and everything is beautiful just as it is. The aesthetic principle and philosophy of Wabi-Sabi aligns with the ancient Japanese and Chinese culture and traditions of Zen Philosophy and Taoism – both of which hold acceptance of everything and every being, as their guiding principle. 

Wabi-Sabi is the art of embracing imperfections, and finding beauty in imperfect things – because the most beautiful things in the world aren’t near to perfect, and thus the quest to finding perfection is often a tiring and ultimately unfruitful one. 

Wabi-Sabi – As it is today 

The Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi has inspired many artists throughout the world to make unique paintings and art forms. One such art style is the Japanese pottery art of Kintsugi, which defines and reflects the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi. The beauty of Art is that it is contagious. It spreads naturally from one place to another, and artists and artisans community are always on a lookout to explore new forms of arts. 

The Wabi-Sabi Art is inspired by the principle of finding beauty in Imperfection and embracing it gracefully. Before we knew it, this Japanese philosophy had made its way into ancient Indian Art – where artists made paintings, potteries and wall posters that reflected the Wabi-Sabi culture. The beauty is hidden in the plain gray landscape of December, or the subtle beauty of a starry shining night, the idea is to look at the things the way they are, with an eye that accepts and appreciates the underlying beauty in the mundane or the normal. 

Things needn’t be all shiny and ornate in order for it to be called a thing of beauty. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, and there’s beauty in every simple thing! The ancient Indian Art abides by these principles of Wabi-Sabi, where artists expressed their love and appreciation for the subtlest of the things – like, woman cooking, fetching water, men harvesting and so on. 

In the flashy-glossy materialistic world that we live in today, connecting back to these ancient art forms reminds us of the essence of life – which is not about striving to reach a happy place or a beautiful destination, but building a happy and beautiful mindset that allows one to see, accept and appreciate the beauty in the imperfections! 

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