Perfection as a concept has been reviewed, studied and answers have been proposed for centuries.
Description[ edit ] According to Leonard Korenwabi-sabi can be defined as "the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty and it occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the far West.
Wabi originally referred to the loneliness of living in nature, remote from society; sabi meant "chill", "lean" or "withered". Around the 14th century these meanings began to change, taking on more positive connotations. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object.
Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.
After centuries of incorporating artistic and Buddhist influences from China, wabi-sabi eventually evolved into a distinctly Japanese ideal.
Over time, the meanings of wabi and sabi shifted to become more lighthearted and hopeful. Around years ago, particularly among the Japanese nobility, understanding emptiness and imperfection was honored as tantamount to the first step to satorior enlightenment.
In today's Japan, the meaning of wabi-sabi is often condensed to "wisdom in natural simplicity". In art books, it is typically defined as "flawed beauty". In the Japanese tea ceremonythe pottery items used are often rustic and simple-looking, e. Hagi warewith shapes that are not quite symmetrical, and colors or textures that appear to emphasize an unrefined or simple style.
In fact, it is up to the knowledge and observational ability of the participant to notice and discern the hidden signs of a truly excellent design or glaze akin to the appearance of a diamond in the rough. This may be interpreted as a kind of wabi-sabi aesthetic, further confirmed by the way the colour of glazed items is known to change over time as hot water is repeatedly poured into them sabi and the fact that tea bowls are often deliberately chipped or nicked at the bottom wabiwhich serves as a kind of signature of the Hagi-yaki style.
Wabi and sabi both suggest sentiments of desolation and solitude. In the Mahayana Buddhist view of the universe, these may be viewed as positive characteristics, representing liberation from a material world and transcendence to a simpler life.
Mahayana philosophy itself, however, warns that genuine understanding cannot be achieved through words or language, so accepting wabi-sabi on nonverbal terms may be the most appropriate approach.
Simon Brown  notes that wabi-sabi describes a means whereby students can learn to live life through the senses and better engage in life as it happens, rather than be caught up in unnecessary thoughts.
In this sense wabi-sabi is the material representation of Zen Buddhism.
The idea is that being surrounded by natural, changing, unique objects helps us connect to our real world and escape potentially stressful distractions. In one sense wabi-sabi is a training whereby the student of wabi-sabi learns to find the most basic, natural objects interesting, fascinating and beautiful.
Fading autumn leaves would be an example. Wabi-sabi can change our perception of the world to the extent that a chip or crack in a vase makes it more interesting and gives the object greater meditative value. Similarly materials that age such as bare wood, paper and fabric become more interesting as they exhibit changes that can be observed over time.
Wabi-sabi in Japanese arts[ edit ] Many Japanese arts over the past thousand years have been influenced by Zen and Mahayana philosophy, particularly acceptance and contemplation of the imperfection, constant flux and impermanence of all things.
Such arts can exemplify a wabi-sabi aesthetic. Honkyoku traditional shakuhachi music of wandering Zen monks Ikebana flower arrangement Bonsai design features such as snags, deadwood and hollow trunks highlight passage of time and natural cycles. Bonsai are often displayed in fall color or after they have shed leaves seasonally, to admire their bare branches.I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.
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