Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Add to My MSN

How to Be Wabi-Sabi with Western Things

6/29/2011 1:30:56 PM

Tags: wabi-sabi, wabi-sabi with Western things, Western wabi-sabi, wabi-sabi influence, wabi-sabi things, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailIn 1960, House Beautiful magazine ran two special issues devoted to shibui, the spare, restrained style referred to variously as “the cultivation of the little” or “the cult of the subdued.” Very similar to wabi-sabi, shibui is the ancient Japanese art of not too much, of quiet grace through economy of means. “Discover Shibui: The Word for the Highest Level in Beauty” (August 1960) and “How to Be Shibui with American Things” (September 1960)—two special issues that deciphered this Japanese concept of “severe good taste” and “superb understatement”—sold out immediately.

To help Americans understand shibui, House Beautiful developed this list of shibui things. They could also be considered wabi-sabi.


18th-century captain’s chests 

early american cupboard 

Early American cupboards, blanket chests, and trestle tables/Photo courtesy of Sylehive 

oaxan jar 

Oaxacan black clay jars 


Shaker furniture/photo by Matt Jiggins/flickr 


18th-century pewter 

salt glaze pottery 

Salt-glaze pottery/photo by Mike Pugh/Flickr 

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.