Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Kintsukuroi is a Japanese noun meaning “to repair with gold”; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

These Sui Dynasty musicians are very old. They were originally made sometime during 581 to 617 -- one of China's briefest Dynasties and was immediately followed by the Tang Dynasty, one of China's greatest periods for art, but especially pottery which reached extraordinary heights during that reign.

Porcelain pieces, especially people, made during the Sui period are elegant, but lack the sophisticated details developed during the Tang years. If you look, you can see how simplified the hands of the musicians are. 

All these Sui musicians have been reconstructed ... restored. If they had not been restored, they would be missing heads, hands, pieces of their instrument. They would no doubt have been tossed out as rubble. I'm very strongly in favor of preserving these ancient pieces. Nor does restoring them ruin their authenticity, not when you buy them knowing they have been extensively restored.

If you don't know what to look for, you'll never see the restoration, but taking a spray bottle of water and lightly spraying the pieces -- not drenching them -- willl expose where the clay is not original. 

The restoration is old too, hundreds of years -- maybe as much as a thousand. Their culture is old and reveres art. Most of my ancient Chinese porcelain pieces are original but these beautiful musicians are a piece of the past who were saved from destruction. They bring me joy every day I see them gracing my mantle. Are they better for having been broken? I don't know about better ... but they live and surely such treasures are better for being part of our world than being lost forever.


Forest Bird said...

Here, here. What beautiful pieces of history to have in your home.

Marilyn Armstrong said...

They give me joy every day. I sometimes think I hear the music.

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