top of page

Kintsugi urushi, what is it?
History & legend of kintsugi

 

Rue Muromachi en periode Muromachi
chanoyu tea ceremony
Oda Nobunaga
Chawan bowl 15th century
 Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa

The history of Kintsugi, Japan's unique artistic repair technique, stems from "Cha-no-yu" (the tea ceremony).
 
Cha-no-yu first appeared during the Muromachi (15th - 16th century), Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo (16th - 17th century) periods. Originally, this practice was reserved for the intellectual and political elite, exclusively male (wealthy merchants, aristocrats and Daimyos, the equivalent of local lords).


The birth of Kintsugi

In the second half of the 16th century (Sengoku period), a wealthy merchant named Senrikyu officiated as Sadō (Master of Tea) for the political leaders of the day, Oda Nobunaga and Hideyoshi Toyotomi. He exerted a great spiritual influence on culture.
 
A great collector of tea utensils (teapots, tea bowls, etc.), Oda Nobunaga used the Cha-no-yu to showcase his power and wealth, going so far as to forbid his vassals from organizing ceremonies.

Occasionally, in his magnanimity, he offered utensils and granted exceptional authorization for the organization of such ceremonies as a reward for prestigious military victories. It was a symbol of prestige and wealth.

The bowls for this ceremony were expensive, and when they broke, their value and covetousness increased. So it was no coincidence that artisans used gold lacquer to repair these objects. The idea was to deliberately highlight the cracks in the container by adorning them with a precious coating. This is the most admirable aspect of Kintsugi: repairing an object to give it a second life.

Legend of the Kintsugi

According to legend, the technique was developed around the 15th century to satisfy the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, after he broke his favorite tea bowl. The bowl was sent to China. It is said to have returned with metal staples by way of repair. Dissatisfied, the shogun called in Japanese artisans in search of a more aesthetically pleasing restoration technique. According to this legend, this is how the Kinstugi was born.

Continued ... Ki Urushi technique

Also... Kintsugi Concepts

Didier Faillères -  ©Kintsugi.art 2019  update 2020 - Traditional Kintsugi

bottom of page