Perfectly imperfect
April 5, 2013 12:55 PM   Subscribe

What am I thinking of: A word or phrase that means "a blemish or imperfection (sometimes done on purpose) that emphasizes the beauty of the whole." For example: Cindy Crawford's mole, or an error purposeful done by a craftsman. I don't think it's wabi-sabi but I do think it's a borrowed foreign word/phrase.
posted by 2bucksplus to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:58 PM on April 5, 2013

previous ask looks similar
posted by jepler at 1:02 PM on April 5, 2013

Nazar battu is another foreign term that means an intentional flaw, but in this case for superstitious reasons, not to highlight beauty.
posted by Wretch729 at 1:02 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Beauty Mark, at least when you're referring to faces.
posted by alms at 1:17 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Not exactly as you describe - but the japanese pottery art of "kintsugi" where broken pottery is repaired with gold or other precious metals to highlight the imperfections perhaps comes close
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:31 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

The word "character" comes to mind. It is often used to refer to wrinkles on older but still attractive people or strong traits which exclude someone from being termed a "classic beauty" but who still gets viewed as attractive. This would be things like Barbara Streisand's strong nose, which she was told she should get surgically altered if she wanted to be a star, or Jay Leno's strong chin, which he was also told should be surgically altered if he wished to make it in showbiz/Hollywood. Now that they are famous, those traits are viewed as "giving them character." In other words, they have more individuality and don't blend in with all the plain vanilla classic beauties.

However, it is not a foreign word so it may not be the word you are looking for.
posted by Michele in California at 1:33 PM on April 5, 2013

Also somewhat related, shih nih bi-teen, referring to the Navajo practice of including a slight imperfection in a work of art.
posted by Andrhia at 2:35 PM on April 5, 2013

Jolie laide?
posted by minerthreat at 4:06 PM on April 5, 2013

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