History of Kintsugi

The story goes that the 15th century Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa commissioned Chinese craftsmen to repair his broken pottery. However, they used their standard recovery method for this, to place staples over the cracks. This didn't look pretty and was not waterproof either. So he ordered his own Japanese artisans to come up with a better solution.

They came up with Kintsukuroi meaning “golden repair”. They repaired the pottery with gold or silver lacquer, which accentuates the imperfections instead of hiding them. This makes the broken piece more valuable than before. Since then, it has been believed in Japanese aesthetics that traces of damage and repair will add to the beauty of the object. This wisdom is still used today and not just to repair porcelain but also in the Wabi Sabi philosophy, which has contributed greatly to the appreciation of Kintsugi in the healing process of a damaged soul.

Meanwhile, Kintsugi's original technique still exists and since it’s first practice hundreds of years ago numerous innovations and alternatives have been made that demand less expertise and time but deliver the same beautiful result.


Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa