Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-Sabi is an aesthetic concept, which provides a measure of how distant Western and Eastern thought can sometimes be. While Western thought considers symmetry, proportion, and, above all, perfection, as the essential ingredients of beauty, Wabi-Sabi is an appreciation of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

Wabi-Sabi is very important in Shibari and Bondage. This is because bondage is an art that uses the human body, and the human body is asymmetrical by definition. This means it is “imperfect”, to the narrow eyes of the traditional mentality. So instead of hiding the natural imperfections and asymmetries of the body, Shibari practitioners should not be afraid of showing or even enhancing them. This may be uncomfortable at first, since the prejudice of perfection is deep in our minds, but a more positive view on imperfection is sure to develop over time.

Shibari scenes are ephemeral by nature. They only last for a certain time. Even if you take pictures, and document the whole process, in the end there will be nothing left but a memory. Instead of regretting this unavoidable fate, Wabi-Sabi invites us to embrace it as the ultimate nature of any human deed. A stronger conscience of the ephemeral nature of scenes will produce a stronger appreciation of the experience. And also of every particular moment of it.

A Shibari scene can always be finished from one point of view, and incomplete from another. Participants could always do something else, could always make it last one more minute. In the end, we say it’s finished only because we can’t keep working on it. Sabi-Wabi teaches us to accept this. It reminds artists that they will never produce their definitive work of art.

In conclusion, Sabi-Wabi is a philosophy of acceptance and embracement of one’s imperfections. And this is particularly important in such an intense act of personal expression as a Shibari scene.

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