Abstract Unlike most Western aesthetics, however, whichrecognize (aesthetic) pleasure, independent of other values (truth and falsity,good and evil), as the primary value of aesthetic experience, the variousJapanese aesthetics recognize a range of objectives and effects that is morecomplex.To trace the history of WabiSabi it is necessary to first understand how it developed.
The Taoists of Chinasought to live close to nature and embrace the Tao, or the force that theybelieved guides everyone’s lives (Juniper, 2003). The Tao, to the Chinese, is ariver, ever-moving and changing in random patterns and sporadic flows. Zen waslater to spring from this spiritual tradition with Wabi Sabi arising around thetime of the Song dynasty (960-1279). Introduction The Initial inspirations for wabi-sabi’smetaphysical, spiritual, and moral principles come from ideas about simplicity,naturalness, and acceptance of reality found in Taoism and Chinese ZenBuddhism. The Arabi. sabi state of mind and sense of materiality both derivefrom the atmosphere of desolation and melancholy and the expression ofminimalism in 9th- and 10th-century Chinese poetry and monochromatic inkpainting.
By the late 16th century. however, these separate elements ofwabi-sabi had coalesced into an identifiably Japanese synthesis. Although web.sabi quickly permeated almost every aspect of sophisticated Japanese cultureand taste, it reached its most comprehensive realization within the context ofthe tea ceremony. Zen Buddhist monks painted ina looser, freer way, one described by critics as done by “crazed drunkards.”This love of the unconventional became a key factor in Wabi Sabi as theydecorated their often underfunded temples with simple items easily available tothem like bamboo, wildflowers, and driftwood (Juniper, 2003).To study wabi sabi is torealize it is rooted in the Zen cosmic view of the universe. In that nihilistview nothing is perfect, everything is in a constant state of change, andeverything evolves from nothing, only to devolve back to nothing.
Short history of ZEN Buddhism was foundedin northeastern India and was based on the teachings of SiddharthaGautama, who is now known as the Bud dha, or the Enlightened One.Born into a life of luxury around 563 B.c. he was so struck by the suffering of those living outsidethe palace that he was spu rred to renounce the material world and to seek answersto the mysteries of life. Afterpassing through a stage of extreme asceticism, the Buddhatook the middle path, which avoided the pitfallsof both over-ind ulgenceand self-denial, and after a great struggle he is said to haveattained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree.Realizing the natureof reality, he started to preach and formedan ideology based on the Four Noble truths, The Four Noble TruthsLife is suffering.
All suffering is caused by ignorance of the nature of realityand the resultantcraving, attachment, and grasping that stemfrom such ignorance.Suffering can be stopped by overcoming ignorance and one’s attachment to the materialworld.The path that leads away from sufferingis the Noble Eightfold Path, which consistsof right views, rightintention, right speech, right action, rightlivelihood, right effort,right-mindedness, and right contemplation. These ideas werepassed down from one disciple to another through the ages, but Zen Buddhism was to receive its inspiration from China, where the Buddhist ideaswere to undergo radical changes as they passed through a culture that already had strong religiousand cultural ideas of its own. 2.
Wabi-Sabi Wabi and Sabi first appearedas poetic references in Jap-anese literature with Wabi generally referring tothings in their most austere, natural state and Sabi expressed as the lonelysense of impermanence mirroring the natural cycle of life (Durston, 2006). Bothare closely associated with the tea ceremony, a spiritual practice invented byZen monks in the 15th century.To trace the history of Wabi Sabi it is necessary to first understand how itdeveloped. The Taoists of China sought to live close to nature and embrace theTao, or the force that they believed guides everyone’s lives (Juniper, 2003).
The Tao, to the Chinese, is a river, ever-moving and changing in randompatterns and sporadic flows. Zen was later to spring from this spiritualtradition with Wabi Sabi arising around the time of the Song dynasty(960-1279). 2.1Wabi Sabi Essentials Wabi Sabi can be said toincorporate four major tenets.
· All arises from nothing andreturns to nothing. · impermanence is exampled byWabi Sabi art. · Wabi Sabi supports an attentionand observation of impermanence. · Wabi Sabi inspires us to viewlife in a more universal way appreciating the transient 2.2Tea ceremony The tea ceremony is carriedout by a tea host, who carefully chooses the time of day, prepares the space byanticipating the needs of the guests, and equips the tea room (a dedicatedspace used only for this ceremony) with objects of contemplation. In effect, artbecomes life with wabi sabi permeat-ing the ceremony (Durston, 2006). Tea bowls used in the teaceremony are often ce-ramic and fired by a method known as raku.
Raku roughlymeans enjoyment of freedom and is a firing process by which the clay potis rapidly heated to 1,900 degrees – the point at which the low-fire glaze onthe surface of the pot melts – and removed from the kiln by the potter usingmetal tongs. This red-hot, glowing pot is either placed into a re-ductionchamber filled with sawdust, or similar combustible material or directlyplunged into a vat of cold water. The resultant shock to the pot createscharacteristic cracks in the glazed surface and unpredictably beautiful surfaceeffects. Wabi sabi definitionof beauty 3.
Aesthetics of Wabi-Sabi and their designcriteria 3.1Organic every piece of wabi sabi artand design is organic, it cbe clay, wood, textile, or any other naturally arising materials. The waves of years must be ableto stamp the passing of the ages on an object. The physical degeneration or natural wear and tear of the materials used does not decreasefrom the visual value, slightlyit decreases it. It is the changes of texture and color that provide the spacefor the imagination to enter and become more involvedwith the devolution of the piece.
While modern design often usesinorganic materials to challenge the natural agingeffects of time, wabi sabi embracesthem. This is not limitedto the process of degeneration but can alsobe found at the moment of inception, when life is taking its first fragilesteps toward becoming(Juniper,1967). Criteria · no shiny or uniform materials.· materials that show the passage of time.
· materials that their aging its expressive and attractive. 3.2 Free of form The form of the piece is typically controlled by the properties of the materialused and the function it delivers. As we see in a bamboo vase. Nature has alreadyprovided the shape, it is up to the craftsman n to select the most attractive section and to cut it according to the size required. When working, it is importantfor the artist to be devoid of thought and in tunewith the naturalrhythms of life. Intellectual ideas of art and beauty are to be discarded as the artist strives to bring out the innate beauty found in nature.Although one can get a feelingof wabi sabi from naturally occur ring phenomena, it is usuallythe act of framing by an artist that brings the poignancy to the attention of others.
As well as making something from scratch thereis an abundance of good resources in antiques or secondhand markets, in the countryside, or even on the beach . When a taste is acquired for things wabi sabi, the world can turn into a very interesting place,full to the brim with creative poten tial. A well-balanced piece of driftwood can add a wonderful touch to an otherwise minimalinterior, and all that may be requiredis the mounting of the piece on the wall or on a tabletop.Quite often what isnot added is more important than what is. The discipline of Japan ese design is to refrain from embellishment and to let the art work by itself without trying to improve it. Some might argue that theartist must refrain from putting in any of his own personal ideas of taste or style in order that the piece should be free of any pretension or foibles of the ego.
Personality, however remarkable, is still no match for natu re, and so the stamp of individuality is not seen as being important-there are in fact those who decry it. For the truly great individual artists. · Asymmetry or irregularity· The form comes from the physical properties of the materials used.· The piece evolves in a naturaland unforced way. · No symbolism Where a largepercentage of modemdesigns use materials that often have a smooth and sleek finish, wabisabi expressions tend to use the organic nature of the materialsand forms to leave the object with a rough and uneven surface.As nothing in the world we perceiveis perfect, the idea of perfection is an unattainable conceptthat can only be approximated. Ifwe look at any object in enough detail we will see imperfections and flaws that arean unavoidable part of the randomly evolvingenvironment we live in.
If an object is supposed to be unflawed then the eye is drawn to and inevitably offended by any imperfections. On the other hand, where something makes no attempt at perfection but yields to the universal laws, then the in1age sits more comfortably on the eye. The iron surfaceof an old kettle slowly changes over the years until thereis a kaleidoscope of nuances that are pleasing on the eye.These colors are then furtherenhanced by the random pitting caused by the corrosion. So although the overall shape of the kettle may be attractive, the real wabi sabi beauty lies in thesmall details where the passing years have added an extra depth. The mind canthen, without trying to fit the object into any conceptual category, enjoy the randomness and imperfections of the pieceand feel in it the imperfections present in our lives.Through the texturalvariations, roughness, and wear and tear over the years of use, objectscan be come more expressive and still more appealing.
The examples of textures are almost limitless and include the cracked mud walls of a tearoom, the uneven weave of antiquemos quito nets, the coarse feel of an unglazed pot, and even the worn con tours of a tool handle. Textural complexity and randomness areessential elementsin wabi sabi, for withoutthem the piece will not truly suggestthe arbitrary nature of evolutionand devolution. · Rough and uneven · Variegated and random· Textures formed by naturalsporadic processes 3.4 Ugliness and beauty The words are steepedin emotion as peoplegrow up in societiesthat deplore the former while adulatingthe latter. Our ideas of what rep resents beauty and uglinessare based mainly on learned assump tions about the items that we perceive in our own separate worlds. But, in the Buddhist view of the world, there is no duality, no life, no death, no beauty, and no ugliness.These exist only in the minds of those who are not enlightened and are the ideas we must dismissif we are to perceive the world that lies beyond that.
As Buddha said, “Ifin the land of Buddha, there remains the dis tinction between the beautiful and the ugly, I do not desire to be a Buddha of such a land.”It has beensaid that wabi sabi is the coaxing of beauty out of ugliness, but this seems to suggest that the two ideas are opposing absolutes. Zen wouldmaintain that the two are one and the sameand onlydivided by learned perceptions. The beautyofDisregard for conventional views of beautyAn aesthetic pleasure that lies beyond conventional beauty Beauty in the smallest most imperceptible details 3.
5 Color With the use of natural materials and dyes, wabisabi rarely strays from the boundaries of subdued colorsand lighting, for it is through these that the atmosphere of intimacycan be transferred. In the tea room, thepastel colors of a mud and sandwall blend effortlessly with the straw used for the tatami mats, the wooden support beams, and the paper screens. · No harsh or strong colors · Subdued lighting· Colors and dyes fromnatural sources · Diffuse and murky colors· Matte colors that lack uniformity wabi-sabimay exhibit the effects of accident, like a broken bowl glued back togetheragain. Or they may show the result of just letting things happen by chance,like the irregular fabrics that are created by intentionally sabo-taging thecomputer program of a textile loom. 3.7Intimate. Thingswabi-sabi are usually small and compact, quiet and inward-oriented. Theybeckon: get close, touch, relate.
They inspire a reduction of the psychicdistance between one thing and another thing; between people and things. Placeswabi-sabi are small, secluded, and private environments that enhance one’scapacity for metaphysical musings. Wabi-sabi tea rooms, for example, may havefewer than a hundred square feet of floor space. They have low ceilings, smallwindows, tiny entrances, and very subdued lighting. They are tranquil andcalming, enveloping and womb-like. They are a world apart: nowhere, anywhere,every-where. Within the tea room, as within all places wabi-sabi, every singleobject seems to expand in importance in inverse proportion to its actualsize.
” Unpretentious. Thingswabi-sabi are unstudied and inevitable looking. They do not blare out “Iam important” or demand to be the center of attention. They areunderstated and unassum-ing, yet not without presence or quiet author-ity.Things wabi-sabi easily coexist with the rest of their environment.Th Thingswabi-sabi are appreciated only during direct contact and use; they are neverlocked away in a museum. Things wabi-sabi have no need for the reassurance ofstatus or the validation of market culture.
They have no need for documentationof provenance. Wabi-sabi-ness in no way depends on knowledge of the creator’sbackground or personality. In fact, it is best if the creator is of nodistinction, invisible, or anonymous. Earthy.Things wabi-sabi can appear coarse and unrefined.
They are usually made frommaterials not far removed from their original condition within, or upon, theearth and are rich in raw texture and rough tactile sensation. Theircraftsmanship may be impossible to discern. Murky. Thingswabi-sabi have a vague, blurry, or attenuated quality—as things do as theyapproach nothingness (or come out of it). Once-hard edges take on a soft paleglow. Once-substantial materiality appears almost sponge-like.
Once-brightsaturated colors fade into muddy earth tones or the smoky hues of dawn anddusk. Wabi-sabi comes in an infinite spectrum of grays: gray-blue brown,silver-red grayish black, indigo yellowish-green…. And browns: blackish deepbrown-tinged blue, muted greens…
. And blacks: red black, blue black, brownblack, green black…. Less often, things wabi-sabi can also come in the light,almost pastel colors associated with a recent emergence from nothingness. Likethe off-whites of unbleached cotton, hemp, and recycled paper.
The silver-rustsof new saplings and sprouts. The green-browns of tumescent buds. 3.
10 Simple. Simplicityis at the core of things wabi-sabi. Nothingness, of course, is the ultimatesimplicity. But before and after nothingness, simplicity is not so simple. Toparaphrase Rikyu, the essence of wabi-sabi, as expressed in tea, is simplicityitself: fetch water, gather · No embellishment or ostentation · Unrefined and raw· Use of freely available materials 3.11 SPAC E How Japanese designs use space has also been powerfully influ enced by metaphysical ideas about the materialworld and how peo ple relate to it.
The concept of space in Japan is more pressing than in most other countries both in physical and metaphysical terms. Physically beca use the mountainous regions that dominate the landscape severely limit the amount of space availablefor living-the average size of an apartment in Tokyo is only aboutforty-eight square yards (approxi mately 40 square meters). This physical restrictionhas out of necessity affected the way in which space has been used to maxi mize its potential · Nothing surplus to requirement· Significant areas of “nothing “in interiorsand gardens · Ample space around all accent pieces· Accent pieces at an absoluteminimum 3.12 BALA NCE The Greekshad a specialformula to decidematters of balance and applied this to many aspects of architecture and design, but needless to say, no such rules exist for wabisabi designs. In keeping with wabi sabi’s centrifugal referenceto naturally occurring phenomena, all aspects of the design must be physically balancedin such a way as to reflect the physical balancesfound in thenatural world.
· Careful and constantobservation of the physical balances found in nature· No prescribed formulae· No regular or uniform shapes· Design elements balanced in a way that looks completely natural and unforced