Wabi Sabi

Topics: Japan, Wabi-sabi, Japanese culture Pages: 2 (782 words) Published: August 7, 2008

Wabi-Sabi(侘寂) is a Japanese understanding of beauty or worldview that is widely used for describing art, places, people, and other kind situations. Wabi-Sabi aesthetic includes simplicity, plainness, quietness, harmony and intimacy. Wabi-Sabi comes from two different words. Wabi comes from the word Wabishii(侘しい), which means deprived, empty, or drearily. Wabi originally meant something discouraging. However, it changed to aesthetic when Japanese was strongly influenced by the idea of Zen. Original ward for Sabi is Sabishii(寂しい), which represent loneliness, not satisfied, or unaccompanied. Sabi also indicates how the things are deteriorated from passing the time. Sabishii also has somewhat discouraging meanings. However, from around twelfth century, Japanese became to think that things like old books or old trees covered with lichen are thought provoking. This idea is fairly close to the aesthetic of the antique of the western culture. Although the original words have negative meanings, when two words are combined, it makes affirmative, elegant meanings. Nowadays, most of the traditional Japanese art is based on the idea of Wabi-Sabi. American understandings of the word Wabi-Sabi are slightly different from the Japanese understanding. Americans use Wabi-Sabi only to describe art. It is commonly used to describe Japanese the bowls, or architectures. Wabi-Sabi in English represents the beauty of imperfect, impermanent, and incompleteness. The grammatical use of the word also differs from Japanese usage. When English uses Wabi-Sabi as adjective, as “Wabi-Sabi bowl” or “Wabi-Sabi aesthetic”, Japanese use Wabi-Sabi as a verb, as “Feel Wabi-Sabi”. While western plates or drawings are made to attract someone’s attention with its dynamic and man-made beauty, Japanese are attracted to plates and drawings that would match the atmosphere of the room or situation. Western aesthetic depends on the gorgeousness and colorfulness but Japanese aesthetic comes...
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