Crow Magazine Vol.6-Wabi-sabi Transience and Imperfection


"Wabi-sabi is one of the most characteristic features of traditional Japanese aesthetics. In the Japanese culture, it is as important as Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West".

Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete". It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence, specifically impermanence, the other two being suffering and emptiness or absence of self-nature.


Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

Nan Lang: Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic concept that I would like to share the most. But it is as very hard to describe an almost religious wisdom. Wabi connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness that can be infused into both natural and human-made objects. Sabi is beauty and serenity that come as time goes by. In Japan, when leaves start to fall in autumn, people not only sweep away the fallen ones, but also knock down the ones still hanging in trees. This is an example of wabi-sabi in real life.