Kintsugi (also known as Kintsukuroi) is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery and porcelain using gold powder etc.
Many people would probably discard broken items or attempt to repair them in a manner which conceals the breakage. The Japanese art of Kintsugi adopts a different philosophy. Rather than disguising the breakage, a Kintsugi restoration repairs a broken item and incorporates the damage into the aesthetic of the restored item thereby making it part of the object’s provenance. Kintsugi uses resin mixed with powdered gold, silver, platinum, copper or bronze, sometimes resulting in something more beautiful than the original.
Kintsugi is thought to date to the 15th century when a Japanese Shogun broke a favourite tea bowl and sent it back to China for repair. The repair job, which was done using metal staples (the standard for repair at that time) detracted from the beauty of the bowl. Disappointed, the Shogun enlisted a Japanese craftsmen to develop a more aesthetically pleasing solution and the art of Kintsugi came about.
Although Kintsugi repairs make it appear as though the original piece was repaired with gold, the beginning of the process is essentially a form of lacquer art. Broken pieces are glued back together using polymer glue and successive layers are added until cracks and voids are filled. The final layer is covered with fine gold powder or whatever contrasting finish is required and then burnished.