sample vase

 

Ikebana is the art of arranging flowers. In Japanese “ike” means to arrange and “bana” ori-gens from the word “hana” meaning flower.
In Ikebana the flowers and branches are arranged so that they appear in a beautiful, simpel, and natural way.

Apart from fresh flowers and branches, wood, metal, plastic and many other things can be used.

The shape and colour of the vase is also of great importance to the final arrangement.
Ikebana came to Japan with Buddhism from India via China, around year 6oo a.d. Like in many other religions, the alters in the Japanese temples were also decorated with flowers and fruits. These offerings were the origin of Ikebana.
Many people might feel that Ikebana does not fit into a Western-style home. But on the other hand an Ikebana arrangement matches very well with a light-coloured wall, or a brick wall or any other kind of home.

bell ikebana
Ikebana is not only about two branches and three flowers in a ball. The interaction between the vase and the branches and the flowers are together creating the final harmony.

While flower arrangement for many people in the West consists of symmetrically arranging flowering plants in a vase, Japanese Ikebana (literally ‘flowers kept alive‘) is a lot more complex.

Ikebana came to Japan with Buddhism from India via China, around year 6oo a.d. Like in many other religions, the alters in the Japanese temples were also decorated with flowers and fruits. These offerings were the origin of Ikebana.
Many people might feel that Ikebana does not fit into a Western-style home. But on the other hand an Ikebana arrangement matches very well with a light-coloured wall, or a brick wall or any other kind of home.

Ikebana is not only about two branches and three flowers in a ball. The interaction between the vase and the branches and the flowers are together creating the final harmony.
While flower arrangement for many people in the West consists of symmetrically arranging flowering plants in a vase, Japanese Ikebana (literally ‘flowers kept alive’) is a lot more complex.

In the late 17th century, the growing merchant class developed a simpler style, called seika or shoka. Shoka uses only three main branches, known as ten (heaven), chi (earth) and jin (man) and is designed to show the beauty of the plant itself. Another old form of ikebana is nageire, used in the tea ceremony.

meaning
The Ohara school generally uses moribana (piled-up flowers) in a shallow, flat container. The school was started at a time when Western culture was heavily influential in Japan and the moribana style made good use of Western plants. But it was still a formal style. Influence from the artistic movements of the early 20th century led to the development of jiyuka (free-style) arrangement. Despite all the changes, ikebana was still only for the upper class.

Ikebana can be roughly divided into two styles –

  • the moribana shallow vase style and
  • the nageire tall vase style.
  • The Sogetsu school uses a series of kakei (patterns) for each style so that ven the beginner can quickly create their own arrangements.

As an example, let’s look at the moribana Basic Upright style.

The shushi are the three main branches –

  • the shin (truth) branch,
  • the soe (supporting) branch and
  • the hikae (moderating) branch.

The arrangement of these branches and the kenzan or spiked metal holder are drawn in a simple diagram, called a kakeizu.

sketch and sample vase

The kakeizu shows a frontal and overhead view of the arrangement. After examining the kakeizu, suitable branches or flowers are chosen for the shushi and trimmed if necessary. The stems are cut to correct lengths according to set formulae.
The kenzan is placed in the vase and just covered with water. The sushi are fixed to the kenzan in order and according to the kakeizu. Jushi or short supplementary stems are added to support the shushi and give depth to the arrangement. Finally, the composition is examined and any finishing touches applied.
Source: Japan’s Ikebana

 

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