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Page 281: Shibu[m]i

/ Friday, August 1, 2014 /
Shibui*/ shibumi: a concept of inner meaning rather than superficial adornment, of simplicity, tranquility, subtle and unobtrusive beauty.

In art, shibui objects appear to be simple overall but they include subtle details, such as textures, that balance simplicity with complexity. This balance of simplicity and complexity ensures that one does not tire of a shibui object but constantly finds new meanings and enriched beauty that cause its aesthetic value to grow over the years.

Shibui objects are not necessarily imperfect or asymmetrical, though they can include these qualities. Shibui colors range from pastels to dark. Occasionally, a patch of brighter color is added as a highlight.

The seven elements of Shibui are simplicity, implicity, modesty, silence, naturalness, everydayness, and imperfection.The aristocratic simplicity of shibui is the refined expression of the essence of elements in an aesthetic experience producing quietude. Spare elegance is evident in darkling serenity with a hint of sparkle. Implicity allows depth of feeling to be visible through a spare surface design thereby manifesting the invisible core that offers new meanings with each encounter. The person of shibui modesty exalts excellence via a thoroughness of taking time to learn, watch, read, understand, develop, think, and merges into understatement and silence concerning oneself. Shibui's sanctuary of silence, non-dualism--the resolution of opposites, is intuition coupled with beauty and faith as foundations for phases of truth revealing the worship and reverence for life. Naturalness conveys spontaneity in growth, unforced. The healthy roughness of texture and irregular asymmetrical form maintain shibui freedom wherein the center lies beyond all particular things in infinity. Everydayness raises ordinary things to a place of honor refined of all artificial and unnecessary properties thus imparting spiritual joy for today is more auspicious than tomorrow. Shibui everydayness provides a framework, a tradition for an artist's oeuvre to be a unit not a process. Hiroshi Mizuo argues that the best examples of shibui are found in the crafts, which are ordinary objects made to be used; also, since they are mass produced, they tend to be more spontaneous and healthy than many of the fine arts. Imperfection in shibusa Soetsu Yanagi in The Unknown Craftsman refers to as "beauty with inner implications". It is not a beauty displayed before the viewer by its creator; creation here means making a piece that will lead the viewer to draw beauty out of it for oneself. Shibui beauty, as in the beauty of Tea Ceremony, is beauty that makes an artist of the viewer."

The author Trevanian (the nom de plume of Dr. Rodney William Whitaker) wrote in his 1979 best-selling novel Shibumi, “Shibumi has to do with great refinement underlying commonplace appearances.” In the business fable The Shibumi Strategy, the author, Matthew May, wrote that shibumi "has come to denote those things that exhibit in paradox and all at once the very best of everything and nothing: Elegant simplicity. Effortless effectiveness. Understated excellence. Beautiful imperfection."

image courtesy: shibui arts

And I love this philosophy.
*yes, got this from wikipedia


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