The practice of deliberate imperfection reminds me of my recent post, “Never Finish the Ironing,” although on a spiritual level. I had first heard of deliberate imperfection while in Turkey. Weavers were said to intentionally add a flaw to their weaving as a sign of humility, indicating that only God could make a perfect rug.
Likewise the Navajo would work a flaw or two into their weaving to prevent trapping spirits in a perfect rug. Others say they leave a flaw to let the soul out or to allow the spirit of creativity to escape so another rug can be made.
Similarly Greek sculptors and Jewish house-builders in ancient times were sure to incorporate a flaw, and this practice continues today with Japanese Zen potters and Amish quilt makers.
Some researchers say that all of this is a myth, but I choose to believe it and particularly like the story of a chieftain who, while building one of the forts of the Great Wall of China, ordered one more brick than needed and left it lying on a ledge where it supposedly remains.
So fact or fiction, the idea of deliberate imperfection seems to resonate across many cultures. If nothing more, it represents a caution against perfectionism and the need for humility.
© Dorothy C. Judd
Next post: Monday, April 14th