- Texte: Florence Miette | Photographie: Motoki Tonn
Fill your wrinkles with gold?
Imagine a world where beauty is found in imperfection. Where far from hiding the marks and traces of time, they are embraced and polished with care, love and gold powder. Miyoko is a master craftsman of kintsugi, literally gold jointing, the Japanese art of repairing chipped, broken dishes with a lacquer filling and gold finish. The Japanese pay great attention to objects, which are often considered to be spiritually inhabited. There is a sense of conscience about wasted resources. At the same time, the Zen aesthetic of wabi-sabi, supports the idea that the patina of time makes things and beings more beautiful.
While in the West we aim to return the object to its original state and give the impression that the repaired object has never been damaged, kintsugi emphasizes the individual destiny of objects that make our homes living places in the making.
Miyoko carefully opens the package that arrived this morning and finds a white porcelain coffee cup with a broken rim. She leans towards the object, observes it with respect and gentleness, letting it gradually reveal itself and tell her about its owner of whom she only knows the name. She imagines her in the early morning, the time of the coffee, the world belongs to her, she captures the infinite in a single sip. And then the cup slips away and by cracking breaks her certainties, as if fate were making a decision for her. Accepting the break as part of life. "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" says the poet*.
The craftsman will work to gather the pieces of the broken story and the owner will write the new chapters. The operation is long, costly, time consuming, and expensive. The golden finish is only decorative. The pieces are entirely repaired with layers of traditional Japanese urushi lacquer, a natural and solid material, whose history goes back nearly ten thousand years.
Miyoko carries this heritage with her. Like all craftsmen, she believes that works of art should be made in symbiosis with nature in order to regain their true essence.
"In kintsugi, Momoko Nakamura, a cultural conservationist advocating for the Japanese art of regenerative living, tells me, "we call the gold lines and shapes that arise from mending the damaged ware as “keshiki”. Gazing at the scenic view that is the history of the ware." The landscape that is the face of the loved one. The geography of her imperfect body that touches us, more than any perfectly smooth, perfectly firm but mindless perfection...
Preventing rather than repairing is naturally the primary objective of skincare in Japan. Maintaining, nourishing and protecting are thus at the heart of the simple and delicate Japanese beauty ritual, which accompanies self-acceptance and begins with a good, gentle cleansing.
*Leonard COHEN, Anthem, CD Album: The Future, CBS/Sony, 1992.