What is Wabi Sabi ? Home decor and zen philosophy

The wabi sabi aesthetic is the idea that beauty can be found in imperfection. It's one of the most popular trends in contemporary Japanese design, and it's been catching on worldwide for a few years now.

The term Wabi (侘) was first used in the 15th century to designate a new aesthetic sensibility closely linked to the tea ceremony, which refers to both the items and the overall ambience that may be experienced during this sacred occasion.

By combining these 2 kanji, the term Wabi-Sabi (侘寂) was born, which is still very difficult to translate into another language than Japanese. In a current dictionary, the definition of Wabi leads back to solitude or melancholy, to the appreciation of a quiet life away from urban bustle.

For Sabi, we find the terms old and elegant, a connection with a sense of tranquility or being rusty. The association, although not obvious at first.

For the Japanese, it is a feeling more than a concept since it is part of their culture. It can be found in the classical Japanese aesthetics, with its Zen gardens, its theater, its painting, in its poetry or literature, and even in the consciousnesses. We can link it to the Zen philosophy.

This blog post will explore wabi-sabi and how to incorporate this concept into your decorating plans.

What is Wabi Sabi?

wabi-sabi-decor

Wabi sabi is the Japanese principle of imperfection. Wabi sabi teaches us that beauty can be found in imperfections in nature or within design when viewed with fresh eyes.

Wabi-sabi is also strongly influenced by the Buddha's teachings and the school of thought. It is a Buddhist idea or belief based on the Three Signs of Existence, which are ‘impermanence' (mujō), ‘misery' (ku) and ‘emptiness,' or lack of self-nature (kū).

Wabi sabi is a graceful way to describe what is natural and pure, as well as the beauty of anything or being in its most natural and raw form. It rejects the rather Western notion of phony beauty and worshiping a state of perfection that is, albeit difficult, unachievable and unnatural.

Beauty has been defined in the western world as something that is becoming increasingly refined and unattainable with each passing day, however, it perverts the idea of natural beauty and accepting one's flaws. Whereas wabi-sabi allows people to be more open to embracing imperfections.

A wabi sabi object might be made of nontraditional materials, cracked pottery, rusty metal, or even something ugly like a rock. The wabi sabi aesthetic has come to be associated with an appreciation for natural objects...

Wabi Sabi and Japanese art

wabi-sabi-photography

Zen gardens, symbol of Wabi Sabi

What could be more evocative than a garden with blossoming flowers, evergreen shrubs, and moss, all of which represent the passage of time?

The Japanese garden and its development through time and seasons is an example of Wabi Sabi.

Wabi Sabi in poetry

We can also discover Wabi Sabi in certain sorts of haiku. Which is an ancient art infused with Zen thought. In this type of codified poetry, Wabi Sabi allows the representation of the fleeting loveliness of a scene and therefore lends itself nicely to expressing this idea.

Wabi Sabi and Ikebana flower art

The Japanese floral art is based on a balance between asymmetry, spaciousness, and depth in order to bring out the beauty of a flower's pure composition..

Japanese people have a special connection with nature, as they reside on an earthquake- and tsunami-prone island. They understand the danger of earthquakes and tsunamis just like they accept it. This respect is manifested in Ikebana, which promotes natural beauty in simplicity...

Wabi Sabi and Kintsugi : accepting beauty in decay

Kintsugi is a Japanese repair method that involves sprinkling gold dust onto cracks and scars in utensils. This art gives a second chance to cups, vases, or bowls by sublimating them through the kintsugi wabi work.

Under this approach, which is consistent with the Wabi Sabi concept of mindfulness, we discover a desire to appreciate the loveliness of time passing and to face the deterioration of things.

Kintsugi is also employed as a simile of perseverance by some doctors for folks who have suffered trauma and must learn to live with their past wounds. Life may harm one and yet rebirth may occur in the form of things that profit from Kintsugi processes.

How to incorporate wabi-sabi into your decorating plans?

japanese-wabi-sabi

Two of the most popular wabi-sabi decorating elements are bare wood and white space. When decorating your wabi-sabi house, you'll want to resist the urge to fill every available nook with furniture or textiles. White space can be used as a foundation for creating wabi-saba spaces rather than using curtains or art to fill up missing areas.

There are many ways to incorporate the Japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi into your design. The key is embracing asymmetry, transience, and "emptiness".

This kind of message is pervasive in Japanese culture, tatami mats are made with slits along their lengths so they can be easily turned over without having to be rebound every time.

Rice paper doors are rectangular on one side and round on the other because it would have been impossible for a woodworker working alone to cut two identical pieces of paper at once.

And bamboo is an essential part of any wabi sabi room because it's hollow inside and grows more quickly than oak or pine trees. Consider these principles when choosing furniture or decoration anything that will stack...

Why should you have a Wabi Sabi home decor in your living room?

wabi-sabi-ceramics 

  • Wabi Sabi is a beautiful style of art and design that can be incorporated into your decoration to make a space look more authentic.
  • Wabi Sabi offers a sense of beauty and peace which invites relaxation and mindfulness.S
  • Wabi Sabi is an escape from the world's busyness for those who want it.

However you have to know that wabi sabi Japanese decor is not always available, as it has been created over hundreds of years. In some ways, wabi sabi is more authentic when it cannot be bought off the shelf.

In this article you saw that Wabi Sabi is more than a Japanese decoration concept...  It's a kind of sensibility that may lead to pleasure, or at the very least to a pleasant appreciation of simplicity and natural beauty.

This thinking, which may be utilized every day, might be an excellent method to enjoy little daily pleasures that are imperceptible to those who are unfamiliar with it. You could sense this Wabi Sabi in front of a landscape, an object, or a painting while having a conversation with friends or during an enjoyable moment with someone special.

I you are looking for some Wabi Sabi aesthetic decor, be free to have a look to our Japanese style home decor products...