Wabi Sabi – The Japanese Art of Impermanence

Reviewed By: Kathy Altman

My Review:

Japanese wisdom for seeing and creating beauty. Kathy Altman – Mill Valley, California, USA

Recommended by:

Kathy Altman

Recommended Reading Program: Art in Motion

Author: Andrew Juniper

Language availability: English, Japanese, Spanish


Developed out of the aesthetic philosophy of cha-no-yu (the tea ceremony) in fifteenth-century Japan, wabi sabi is an aesthetic that finds beauty in things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. 

Taken from the Japanese words wabi, which translates to less is more, and sabi, which means attentive melancholy, wabi sabi refers to an awareness of the transient nature of earthly things and a corresponding pleasure in the things that bear the mark of this impermanence. As much a state of mind—an awareness of the things around us and an acceptance of our surroundings—as it is a design style, wabi sabi begs us to appreciate the pure beauty of life—a chipped vase, a quiet rainy day, the impermanence of all things. Presenting itself as an alternative to today’s fast-paced, mass-produced, neon-lighted world, wabi sabi reminds us to slow down and take comfort in the natural beauty around us.

In addition to presenting the philosophy of wabi-sabi, this book includes how-to design advice—so that a transformation of body, mind, and home can emerge.

Vimeo: Wabi Sabi – The Japanese Art of Impermanence

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