Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WABI-SABI POETRY

Wabi-sabi is hard to define. The Japanese love ambiguity and believe that no deep understanding can come with the spoken word. Zen beliefs are also not easily explained with words and wabi-sabi emerged from Zen tenets. To explain them with words would diminish them. Zen led to the birth of the tea ceremony and wabi-sabi grew out of the tea ceremony.


image found at Wasbella102.tumblr.com here.

Therefore, both Zen and wabi-sabi maintain a mysterious, elusive quality. The fullest explanation is that they are a way of life, with an appreciation of a particular type of beauty or aesthetic.

image by nikola - n k l s at Flickr site here.

Wabi-sabi is an appreciation of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of
things modest, humble and unconventional.

image found at indigenousdialogues.tumblr.com here.

All things are impermanent. All things are imperfect. All things are incomplete.

Things are either devolving toward or evolving from NOTHINGNESS. Nothingness does not have the same meaning as in Western cultures. Zen followers see new things or life emerge out of 'nothingness'.


India Flint's eco-dyed bundle waiting to be opened. blog here.

Nothingness is alive with possibilities.

image by Game Texture Images here.

Accept the inevitable... life is fleeting and transient.... impermanent. That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment... focus on the intrinsic small details... and get rid of the unnecessary.

That is why Zen and wabi-sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature.


To be alone
It is of a color that
Cannot be named:
This mountain where cedars rise
Into the autumn dusk.
-- 12th century poet, Jakuren

Mineo Mizuno, moss on ceramic
There is a melancholy associated with the cycle of impermanence.. the transience of life and death. Everything is in flux, and one is invited to abandon yourself to the unrivaled beauty and natural imperfection of the fleeting world.

image by Veronika Studer at Flickr here.

Wabi is a way of life, with inward philosophical thinking. Sabi refers to the material objects, which convey the Wabi way of thinking. Words for wabi-sabi include: warm, dark, personal,
organic, ambiguous, seasonal, life and death, earthy, present (in the moment), decayed....

Charles Austin, teapot, image from Butters Gallery link here.

... weathered, rusty, rough, non-fnctional, irregular, not symmetrical....

Simplicity and focus on minimal details and subdued colors are very central to wabi-sabi.

An organic feel with little or no defined design is preferred. Objects are functional rather than decorative, with a naturalness and ease of use.

Dark, muted, subdued and limited colors are preferred. Rough edges are revered.

image by blackwood (no real name given), Flickr site here.

All that is uncared for.
Left alone in the stillness
in that pure silence married
to the stillness of nature.
--- Linda Gregg

56 comments:

George said...

This is a truly wonderful post, Donna. I relate deeply to the whole concept of wabi-sabi and the Zen that underpins it. As you say, there is often melancholy in the notion of impermanence. At the same time, it is impermanence that gives beauty and meaning to so many things, including our lives. It is impermanence that calls us the the present moment, reminding us that there has never been a moment like this, nor shall there ever be one like this in the future. This moment and this thing, however soiled and tattered, is the only place in which reality can be found.

LuLu said...

Howdy,
Gorgeous pix! Wonderful weather-bneateb objects!

I'm under the weather this week - I'm just popping by for a quick peek.

Would love for you to stop by my blog when you have a moment or 2!

Peace,
LuLu
www.lulu-too-beaucoup.blogspot.com

NuminosityBeads said...

Beautiful post, Thanks so much.
xoxo Kim

Sweetpea said...

A very lovely post, Donna...it's always so restful over here. I appreciate your origin of view.

deanna7trees said...

yes. a truly beautiful post.

Seth said...

Stunning post. These concepts are so elusive and yet you managed to capture them in both words and pictures. Thank you for that.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

There seems to be a natural acceptance in wabi sabi - what is is. How is comes about is how it comes about. No control.

Now wish me luck with the terrible word verification, which does not seem natural at all.

deborah said...

Wabi-sabi wonderfully illuminated. Lots of food for thought here!

Anna Mavromatis said...

Always special visiting your blog, experiencing the calmness your posts offer. Always...

eb said...

you have illumined
the path
stone by stone
to this lovely
glowing
and ever so quiet
wabi-sabi garden...

xox - eb.

ZenDotStudio said...

lovely images, lovely words, as always.

ELFI said...

magnifique! tout est parfait et complet... le temps qui passe patine les choses et notre peau aussi !

iNd!@nA said...

impermanence and imperfection, concepts
so very different from the carelessness and clumsy cobbling sometimes seen in art and craft
that uses wabi-sabi as a "label of excuse" for poor making
thus demonstrating clearly a total lack of understanding of the philosophy you have illustrated here so succinctly

i'm humbled and honoured to be included in your pages, thank you

Yucca said...

WABISABI好きです!
アートですね。
いつも楽しみに拝見しています。

yucca

Lynn said...

A beautiful, thoughtful, stilling, and stirring post, Donna. Thank you.

herhimnbryn said...

Thankyou for this. It sings to me. The Boro kimono is beautiful.

Barry said...

D-thanks for sharing info on both wabisabi and Zen connection - but as you say even in all that there is still a mystery. The important thing that comes out of it for me is that in any moment there is only that thing and that time to be experienced so why not do that rather than miss that in the effort to seek something different of else. I think I still have a long way to go with thinking that through. Go well. B

Velma said...

this is a gentle, thorough lesson in something that is rich and deep, and challenging for westerners. i'm particularly surprised by the mossy ceramic pieces.

Wen Redmond said...

I'm in love with this post. The wabi-sabi of it. The gentle tones, the textural photography. You have done it again. Pointed a way toward truth with art.

lyle baxter said...

What a wonderful post! I am without the right words to say how lovely! thank you.

Caterina Giglio said...

great job in capturing the elusive essence of wabi sabi and illustrating in photo and word. my meditation teacher years ago said that Zen was easier to define by talking about what it was NOT, rather than what is was... thank you...

nancy neva gagliano said...

this morning's stretching reaches inward to slowly make my way through the wabi sabi reflections 'layered' here

Kathy Van Kleeck said...

Really needed this post ... as a maker and earth bound soul. An ongoing quest - to create decorative objects that are well crafted, highly functional and not over-worked, inherent beauty rather than overt. You've presented such perfect examples of the wabi-sabi artistic vision and aesthetic - soothing, inspiring, an affirmation of my own path.

mansuetude said...

The heart has its own language
as the Tao says, The way that can be told is not the way.

but it all points.
.

i love that you quote Linda Gregg, love her work

Suz said...

I bow

Magdalena said...

Beautiful post Donna...thank you!

Jo Murray said...

Thank you so much for an explanation of the wabisabi philosophy... AND all the wonderful images and links.

Liza Ursu said...

"Nothingness is alive with possibilities."
There truly is magic in flux.
Thank you for this post Donna.

petra`s kunstblog said...

Wonderful post, Donna. Thank You.
And I think I'm a little wabi-sabi. Because I love to be a little bit imperfect and incomplete. i am comfortable with it. ;)

Claudia Martínez said...

http://dcrit.sva.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/In-Praise-of-Shadows-Junichiro-Tanizaki.pdf
SURELY ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK

Jann Gougeon said...

I really understand the inability to use words as description . . I find the word, "rich", to useful . . these images are very "rich".

Jane Cornwell said...

Happiness in coming to your blog this morning and finding your thoughtful beautiful words and images.

Tammie Lee said...

such a beautiful post!
I love the way you have shared the meaning of Wabi Sabi, wonderful and so much how i feel about life.
your photographs are artful and a delight to see.

Carole said...

There is a book at the library about decorating in Wabi- Sabi style. I've taken it out many times. This post is as lovely as the book. You always inspire Donna. Thank you.

Di said...

Hi Donna, I have never been able to describe adequately how I feel about the beauty in all the imperfection around me or why beauty in nature and humble modest things resonate with me. I always see beauty when no one else does. Thank you for sharing and putting it into words for me.

Noela Mills said...

A beautiful post, thanks for reminding me to just BE xoxox

Laura said...

This all speaks deeply to my heart, to the way I look at life, the photos I like to capture. Beautiful explanation of Wabi-Sabi and such lovely art Donna. Thank you for sharing all of this.

annell said...

I love this post... we seek it, and yet it is always with us.

Deborah said...

Lovely photos and so much to absorb. I love this post!

onesmallstitch said...

with hands clasped I thank you

ArtPropelled said...

Reading through this post I can feel my shoulders relax and a sense of calm flowing through me. Thanks for this lovely post Donna.

Donna Iona Drozda said...

Long having weathered a love affair with the Wabi & the Sabi I bow in your direction for the beauty of this post.

Glorious

mano said...

wonderful post, dear donna! so many beautiful pictures, so many positive impressions for me. thank you!

Kathy Johnson said...

These words inspire the sort of 'quiet places' I aim to paint. Thank you Donna.
Kathy

Laura said...

peacefully placed in words and images glad I stop by this morning, thank you

~v~Laura

In the Light of the Moon said...

Thank you for the words and images.A lovely way to spend some time.Warmest Regards,Cat

Coffee Messiah said...

Most beautiful and a delight to see all the pieces = Cheers!

Robin said...

I am blessed
at this moment
by your images
thank you

Gaby Bee said...

Beautiful pictures and beautiful words! Enjoyed the visit!

Gaby xo

NuminosityBeads said...

I've just passed on the Versatile Blogger award to you. You can check out the details on my page if you wish.
Please don't feel obligated!
xoxo Kim

Angie in AZ said...

I trailed to your blog from Seth Apter's latest post. I LOVE your work. I lived on Okinawa as a child and have always loved anything Asian as it brings back some of my best childhood memories. Your work calms me. What a beautiful gift you give! Glad I found you so now I can follow your blog!

CERULEAN said...

Great you're in "The Pulse". A book, an exhibition, the blog community...
always needs some resting points or oases. Your work and blog certainly are!

jinxxxygirl said...

Love this post Donna . So nice to meet you. And so happy that Seth introduced us.

Karen Cole said...

You have created a place of beauty and peace. I feel refreshed looking at your images and reading the simple words that accompany each. It will be wonderful to see how Seth has joined us all together.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I am back reading this generous post again, still with more to learn from Wabi Sabi.

Allen jeley said...

Amazing Japanese poetry i love it thanks for share it punctuation check