Notes from Japan. 4 concept of beauty
Everyone has the place where time slows down, where you just put life on pause and "recharge." For me, such shelters are my house in Kyiv and the whole country – Japan.
Japan is my old passion, the source of inspiration. I always want to come back there.
Japanese culture gave birth to my favorite minimalistic style. I much more fell in love with it after having discovered such a side of the Eastern aesthetic worldview (and interior decoration, of course) as wabi-sabi.
The essence of Japanese beauty is determined by 4 concepts: Sabi, Wabi, Shibui and Yugen. Trying to understand interiors and the whole culture without them is the waste of time.
Sabi can be translated as "the bloom of time". It is the celebration of naturalness; beauty that comes with age.
When I came to Japan for the first, I was impressed by the price of earthenware teapot in local antique shops. The reason was found later. Japanese tea is brewed in a pot made of unbaked clay. Its walls absorb essential oils that give the drink a subtle flavor. With each brew scent becomes richer, and the tea – more expensive. Many teapots (and other crockery) passed through the generations, keeping own original beauty.
Sabi shows the archaic imperfection, fosters a taste for antiquity and unfake things. You can find Sabi in the cracks, roughness and other imperfections painted by time.
The roof, sunk in the green moss ball. The weathered grey wood. Handprints, touched the edge of the picture. All of this are not only of artistic but also philosophical value. Things say about themselves.
Wabi says about the beauty of simplicity and functionality. By cultivating a skill to be content with little, the Japanese find and appreciate beauty in everything around. My friend from Japan said that the first foreigners who had come to their islands, had been amazed by the beauty and perfection of household stuff. Whether it’s spatula for laying rice or bamboo holder for the teapot – they said it was a masterpiece!
Wabi-sabi is the interior, woven from the subjects important to the owner. Often these things are passed down from one generation to another.
Like plasticine time sculpted wabi and sabi in one unit. As a result, we have a word with deeper meaning. In XV-XVI centuries wabi-sabi appeared as а contrary to the luxury, reigned in tea ceremonies of aristocrats. The ritual was simplified by focusing on the human relationships, the joy of communication and easy-going conversations.
The third principle of Japanese Beauty is Shibui. Ask the Japanese, what the word means, and you’ll hear: "А thing that a man with good taste calls beautiful." Shibui reveals beauty in its essence; beauty which the material has without processing. It’s focused on the practicality. An example of Shibui is a cup, which is convenient to drink, but with the authenticity of living clay.
The Land of Rising Sun location, constant threat of natural disasters shaped the people responsive to environmental changes. In this country you realize that the mystery of art is listening to the unspoken and admiring invisible. In this thought the root of the fourth principle of beauty – Yugen.
Yugen is the innuendo beauty. It embodies mastery of hint, subtext, symbolic elements. Example of philosophy – a popular expression of painters: "Empty spaces on a scroll is sometimes filled with more sense than one inscribed."
«To watch the sun sink behind a flower clad hill. To wander on in a huge forest without thought of return. To stand upon the shore and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands. To contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds…» Zeami Motokiyo
Сoncentration on the material world prevents us from the emergence of more important values. Get rid of all unnecessary, enjoy the unencumbered life. Simplicity, minimalism naturalness – Wabi-sabi tells you.
Wabi, Wabi, Shibui, Yuhen – in architecture, design, music. These unusual concepts for the European vision form the Japanese beauty concept.