The Love of Imperfection

Among the many visitors to the Fairmont Hotel for the Christmas Holidays, one guest asked me about the Ko-Bizen water Pot from the Muromachi Period of Japan.

“What is that pot? Why is it defective?” the Guest asked me.

I was taken aback by the question and the ignorance of the person asking the question. The Ko-Bizen pottery water pot is the very essence of the philosophy of Daoist imperfection and the finding of beauty therein. This concept of Wabi is central to the appeal of objects which get admirers adrenalin going! I patiently tried to explain this concept to the guest as best I could in my own manner. Later I came upon the following short video which succinctly explains in elegant language the history of this love of natural objects and their meaning on a wider scale. Here is the link for those of you who want to avail yourself ofviewing it:

One person’s “defectiveness is another person’s masterpiece!


This lack of awareness is apparent when exhibited by Chinese visitors to my gallery who are looking at our jades on offer. “This has a crack”, or I wish the piece was whiter, or I wish it had dragons carved on it, blah blah blah…

This kind of quantitative aesthetic approach shows a lack of understanding of the jade art form, and of the material itself. It is the use of the natural mineral by the artist that gives the object it’s value. I must confess that as I begin my 68th. year, I tire easily when confronted with such ignorance, and more importantly, lack of patience in the process by which knowledge is gained. To the serious collector and those who seek knowledge, I’ll take all day to explain it. Knowledge is power!



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