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[zen arts] The more perishable something is, the more aesthetically satisfying it becomes

[zen arts] The more perishable something is, the more aesthetically satisfying it becomes [zen arts] The more perishable something is, the more aesthetically satisfying it becomes
Source : Kasamatsu Shirō via artsmia (cropped)
Zen culture
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Perhaps the most puzzling, yet curiously rewarding, aesthetic principle in Zen art is its seeming celebration of the ravages of time. The Zen Japanese consider a taste for newness the mark of the aesthetic parvenu. To be sure, Westerners who have acquired a preference for antiques are sometimes looked upon as more sophisticated than those preferring the latest machine-made item; yet Zen taste has an important difference—the Japanese would never "restore" an antique.

The signs of age and wear are to them its most beautiful qualities. This convoluted attitude actually began in pre-Zen aristocratic times, when courtiers concluded that the reason cherry blossoms or autumn leaves were so beautiful was their short season.

Soon, the more perishable something was, the more aesthetically satisfying it became (... ).

Later, Zen took over this attitude, extending it to things that perish slowly, and before long, things old and worn out—already perished, in a sense—were thought the most beautiful of all. This idea fitted well with the Zen notion that material things were dross and should not be accorded excessive importance. The curious thing is that the idea works; old objects, desiccated and apparently used up, have a nobility that makes one contemplate eternity and scorn the fashions of the moment.

Broken and patched tea bowls or frayed scrolls seemingly falling apart are indeed more beautiful than they were when new. The patina of age is a lesson that time is forever and that you, creature of an hour, would do well to know.

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