Small glossary of Japanese aesthetics terms

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Small glossary of Japanese aesthetics terms
Ryoan-ji_Zen Garden_Kyoto_wabi_sabi
cm 70 x 70

aware the aspects of nature (or life, or art) that move a susceptible individual to an awarness of the ephemeral beauty of a world in which change is the only constant

bigaku a coined modern Japanese term, equivalent to “aesthetics”

fūryū refined manners as reflected in things regarded as tasteful or elegant

ga neatness, propriety, elegance (as defined by Gion Nakai)

hie chill beauty, somewhat like sabi

iki an urbane, chic, bourgeois type of beauty with undertones of sensuality (as defined by Ueda Makoto)

jimi good taste in an understated, plain style

kurai dignity, even loftiness, quietly or even coldly beautiful

miyabi Heian-period term suggesting the strong appreciation for beauty, elegance, and refinement

mono no aware a slightly sweet and sad quality as appreciated by an observer sensitive to the ephemeral nature of existence

mujō a Buddhist concept suggesting impermanence

sabi a slightly bleak quality suggesting age, deterioration, and the passage of time

shibui collects in one concept the aspets of semplicity, elegance, understated beauty, recognised enjoyment

shin-gyō-sō a tripartite pattern of formal, mixed, and informal styles

soboku artless simplicity (as defined by Michael Dunn)

wabi a cultivated aesthetic that finds beauty in simplicity and an impoverished rusticity

yu term for “graceful” or “refined”; often seen as something like “elegant”