Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi – the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

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“Not the instant glory of the sun, but the broken moon is beautiful”

Just as Zen Buddhism is unknown to millions of Europeans, Wabi-Sabi seems at least strange to most people in this country. Many people know for sure that this is an old Japanese aesthetic concept that we don’t know well enough to teach us to perceive the beauty around us. Very briefly, Wabi Sabi is described as an aesthetic in Japanese style, it is sought in clear, simple things that can be imperfect or even defective. If you have a special interest in creative home design, new, under-explored areas, our today’s article will motivate and encourage you to view the unknown differently and discover the special in imperfect. We invite you to take a short break in new fields to find the Japanese beauty ideal of organic forms and individual solutions. Do you want to come?

Wabi Sabi aesthetics illustrate the Japanese beauty ideal

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

What does Wabi Sabi mean?

This question is difficult to answer because it is not easy to translate the words Wabi and Sabi into German. Rather, they are an untranslatable conceptual unit whose actual content is difficult to explain for Japanese people. Yet we try to reveal this secret here.

Originally Wabi meant “lonely in nature” or “far from society”. Sabi’s name was “wilting”, “being old, showing patina, maturity”. This original meaning changed in the 14th century and the very special word composition got more positive connotations. Wabi is now called rustic simplicity, freshness and tranquility, even simple elegance. Sabi means beauty and serenity, which come to the fore over the years, remind us more often of transience, despite wrinkles in the human face and signs of wear on the objects. In today’s Japanese, Wabi Sabi can be summarized as “aesthetics in natural simplicity.” You can define them with “imperfect beauty.” If you want to continue your research, you will certainly find many other interpretations, for example in the work of well-known experts in this field, such as Leonard Koren, Andrew Juniper or Richard R. Powell.

Wabi Sabi is difficult to translate into German

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection


History about the Japanese Wabi Sabi concept

The story of Wabi-Sabi’s aesthetic concept is closely related to Zen Buddhism. The first beginnings of this philosophy of life could be found quite early in the time of Japanese antiquity (7th to 11th centuries). The term Wabi-Sabi officially appeared in the 16th century and quickly conquered Japan. It was introduced in this form by the Japanese tea master and Zen monk Sen no Rikyū. But already in the Japanese Middle Ages, from the twelfth century, this view spread throughout Japan, even in other countries in the Far East.

The Japanese aesthetic concept Wabi Sabi is gaining increasing popularity in Europe

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Aesthetic values ​​of Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is often called Japanese beauty or the beauty of imperfect. In it everyone discovers, whether it is professional or layman, the individual way to personally discover the beauty around us. Everyone looks at the beautiful through their eyes and observes it individually. That is why Wabi Sabi teaches us that beauty is individual and that small imperfections do not disturb their perception, on the contrary, they make beauty even more perfect. That is why you will notice a clear preference for perfection in Wabi Sabi, and this lesson can be called Japanese perfectionism.

Perfectionism in the Japanese way

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection


The sense of Japanese aesthetics lets us focus on simple things and discover the beauty of simplicity. Unpretentious and simple things are much more fun than those with glamor and glamor. Although it is difficult to understand this statement in the West, let alone to say it, one can compare the Japanese aesthetic concept with the minimalism that is so modern in our time, and look up certain contact points with the Shabby Chic style.

Minimalism in Japanese

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Wabi Sabi in the interior design

What we can take away from the Wabi-Sabi philosophy of life and apply it easily to the interior design of our own four walls, would be the beauty of imperfection in the first place. Do not necessarily focus on flawlessness and symmetry in your room design, as it can be asymmetrical and also delicious. Prefer to focus on naturalness, organic forms and their immortality. A simple vase with beautiful flowers looks striking without appearing intrusive. Small defects, oddities or small errors emphasize the individual look. You must learn to perceive the things around you as they are.

Ikebana – the Japanese art of flower arranging

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Concerning the most popular materials in the design according to the Wabi Sabi doctrine, one can immediately point to stone, wood and metal. These substances become superfluous and show patina and signs of aging, something that you can appreciate in Japanese aesthetics. Cracks in the wood, a rusty teapot and the wrinkles in our faces correspond to the Japanese ideal of beauty. Because these are all symbols of maturity and reveal a rich life experience. And that is exactly what counts with Wabi Sabi and is appreciated from very old to very high!

Creative living ideas that deny brilliance and splendor

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative living ideas in a Japanese way

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

Creative Living Ideas: Wabi Sabi - the Japanese art of finding timeless beauty in imperfection

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