What is Wabi-sabi?
Wabi-sabi is a term used to describe an aesthetic view in Japanese culture. It is difficult to fully express the meaning in western terms, but it roughly suggests beauty through imperfection, impermanence and incompleteness, concepts that are found in the teaching of Zen Buddhism. In other words, wabi-sabi describes the way nature is perceived through our senses.
Wabi and sabi are two distinct terms. Wabi refers to the simplicity of both natural and man-made objects, whether they are intentionally or accidentally created. Sabi suggests the beauty that comes only with time. Today, the new word, wabi-sabi, is widely used in the world of aquascaping and carries a meaning of aesthetic sensibility.
One of the ways to appreciate the concept of wabi-sabi is by arranging an aquarium with live plants. The idea is to recreate a slice of nature and let the tank inhabitants live in harmony with its surroundings. There are neither rules nor limitations in the process of reconstructing an underwater scene, and accidents can often bring surprising results. With care and patience, beauty found in nature will emerge as the tank slowly ages. In this case, wabi-sabi is about controlling and yielding to nature at the same time.
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