Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death.
The art of appreciating the beauty in the naturally imperfect world, the antithesis of our classical Western notion of beauty as something perfect, enduring, and monumental.” Wabi means modesty, simplicity and quietude. It includes both that which is made by nature, and that which is made by man. Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age. It refers to the patina of age, and the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable. This also incorporates an appreciation of the cycles of life, as well as careful, artful mending of damage.
To discover wabi-sabi is to see the singular beauty in something that may first look decrepit and ugly. One senses that it has survived to bear the marks of time precisely because it has been so well cared for throughout the years. The kind of beauty that can come only with age. You won't find wabi sabi in Botox, glass-and-steel skyscrapers, smart phones, or the drive for relentless self-improvement.
Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness or irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. Wabi and sabi both suggest sentiments of desolation and solitude. These may be viewed as positive characteristics, representing liberation from a material world and transcendence to a simpler life.