Kintsugi: History of Japanese Ceramics Repair Technique

Credit: Artist Charlotte Bailey. History of Kintsugi Jijjy's Maison blog

Hello lovelies  

Do you have a collection of valuable pottery, ceramics or porcelain? Imagine someone picks one of the pieces, to admire, and accidentally drops it. Yes, I can just see your face from here 😀. 

It really is awful, especially if it is valuable; If it is damaged, the worth of the item is now reduced.  

But guess what, you can still enjoy it as one of your collections by restoring it with Kintsugi. 

What is Kintsugi?

The name means golden seams and it is a century old Japanese luxurious method of repairing broken ceramics, pottery or porcelain using gold paint and celebrating its history. 

Another name used is – Kintsukuroi which means golden repair; this method is still used today where silver and platinum can also be used. 

How was this paint made? The traditional method involved mixing gold dust with lacquer and applying on the mended crack. The lacquer is a type of natural resin from tree sap – that is considered toxic but harmless once dry. The goal was not to cover the flaw but to illuminate it. 

Credit: bernstein museum, Tree Resin
Gold Dust

The Japanese have this belief that every item has its own long-life events which will include imperfections, and by illuminating them, you are calling forth the spirit of Mushi which simply means, – “no mind” and accepting change. 


In addition, by repairing and embracing the item it means nothing is unnecessarily thrown away nor goes to waste and reduces the culture of always wanting, for this reason a restored item was highly valued. 

Credit: 3DM Lifestyle

According [ desk] – the method of using lacquer was used in Asia in the ancient times but the use of gold to illuminate the repair, started a few centuries ago. Historians suggest that origins of Kintsugi are unknown. 

Credit: Discovery Place

The practice was widespread in Japan with the wide spread of Tea making and drinking ceremonies suggesting the method was used frequently to repair broken teacups, saucers, tea kettles and other porcelain, ceramics, pottery and glass. 


There was a discovery of pottery repaired using Kintsugi around China, Korea, Vietnam, for this reason, it is evident that the method spread across Asia. 

credit:, kintsugi workshop

Historians suggest that the Japanese art of repairing became so famous when a broken porcelain was returned to China and was repaired using metal staples. This looked so hideous prompting the Japanese had to find a more beautiful way to restore their items. 

In today’s world this technique has inspired many western artists to come up with exquisite Avant Garde creations, for instance: –  

Kintsugi Fabric Vases 

British Artist Charlotte Bailey who repaired broken vases by covering them with fabric then putting them back together with gold thread. 

Credit: Artist Charlotte Bailey

Kintsugi Kimono 

Other inspired Artists are American Karen Lamonte, who created a kimono sculpture with cracks fixed with gold paint.  

Credit: Artist Karen Lamonte

Kintsugi jewellery 

Newyork designer George Inaki Root latest Kintsugi jewellery design inspired by the Japanese art of mending objects.  

Credit: George Inaki Root, Kintsugi Jewellery

Titled Kintsugi Court 

Los Angeles artist Victor Solomon famous for repairing a dilapidated basketball court using gold dust with resin filled into the cement cracks. Another ambitious structure that leaves us all in awe. Colossal: – “Victor highlights the years of use “to accentuate the healing as a formative part of its journey”. Victor says, “Sport can entertain, inspire, and distract, but more apropos than all, the platform of sport can help us heal.”  

Artist Victor Solomon
Artist Victor Solomon

What do you think about this technique. Share with me in the comments below, especially if you have used it before. 

Read my post “Using Kintsugi to Repair my Chinoiserie Vase”, where I perform my own Kinstugi with my own added touch. 

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You can also watch the video if you prefer.

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