History of Kintsugi
Kintsugi (golden joinery) (金継ぎ) translates “to repair with gold.” Kintsugi is said to have been developed to repair, and mend broken pottery to restore its water retention. It embeds gold in the cracked or missing part.
There was a beautiful green tea bowl called “Bakouhan”. It was made in a Longquan kiln between 1127-1279 (South song era) and gifted from China to Japan’s Taira no Shigemori in 1175. During the Muromachi era in Japan, Bakouhan was inherited by the eighth shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435-1490) who found cracks in the bowl. He sent the bowl to Ming China and asked for a new bowl, identical to the one he had sent. However a potter of the Guan kiln of Ming China repaired the Shougun’s bowl and sent it back, instead of a new bowl. They repaired it with metal staples because the potter said, looking at the old bowl, “It is impossible to make such a beautiful celadon bowl again.”
This story has been told to explain the origin of Kintsugi, and started the restoration and repair of broken pottery.