IKEBANA

Ikebana is an ancient practice born as an offering to the gods and over the centuries it has become a real artistic expression.
The Japanese term Ikebana - "Ike" means living and "hana" means flower - refers to the art of floral compositions.
It is an ancient practice that originated in the East around the sixth century AD, but which more precisely found its maximum expression in Japan where in a short time, from an initial offering to the gods, it was transformed into a real mode of expression.
As this is a custom with a profound philosophical and spiritual significance, in the beginning it was practiced only by Buddhist nobles and monks, often on the occasion of the tea ceremony. The first style to develop was the Rikka, where seven elements alternated to create a harmonic composition useful for man to recover an intimate relationship with himself and with the whole world. Later, the Nageire developed, a simpler style, followed by the Seika, similar to both but much less austere.
The goal of the Ikebana is to give space to one's emotionality, bringing one's soul, instinct and aesthetic taste into the composition.
In order to create true works of art, it is important to form and train the discipline through dedication: In fact, the study of colors, shapes, harmony and practice, necessary to obtain an arrangement capable of giving a sense of balance.
These harmonious floral compositions can be made up of different types of flowers, from orchids to hydrangeas, from chrysanthemums to gerberas, from roses to bamboo branches. The main rule for creating an Ikebana composition is to use all elements of an organic nature, whether they are flowers, herbs, branches or leaves. Branches and flowers are thus arranged as to create a triangle: the longer branch called Shin, the most important one, is considered as the element that reaches towards the sky, the shorter branch, the Hikae, symbolizes the earth while the intermediate one, the Soe, represents the man. The floral composition therefore aims to balance Shin, Hikae and Soe in a harmonious way and without too complex elaborations.
IKENOBO SCHOOL - If you intend to approach Ikebana, this is the oldest school in Japan, founded by the monk Senkei Ikenobo in 1462. Objective, not only the aesthetics of the composition but also refinement, simplicity and the representation of one's own sensitivity and spirituality.
There is always a "protagonist" element and a series of "helpers", but never in competition with each other. And a point of view from which to observe (the little flowers at the bottom are often points of entry into the vision). As in other schools, the choice of the vase is an integral part of the work.
Among the oldest of the Ikenobo is the Rikka style, which generally focuses on verticality starting from a stem and brings together all the elements of nature. On closer inspection there are also us, the men. At the base, kenzan is often used, a support to better insert flowers and stems and then let the water flow. Traditionally, these compositions have a small dedicated alcove inside the house: the Tokonoma. The Shoka style is more essential, while a great source of inspiration is the painting of the Rimpa school born in the seventeenth century of which Ikebana today continues to "paint" themes and models in pots.
OHARA SCHOOL - At the heart of Ikebana Ohara is the very strong relationship with nature, the study of its forms, its seasonal rhythms, the growth of its elements. Because the new never completely supplants the old. The infinite variety of compositional forms allows you to express your creativity and sensitivity through different and personal choices, in a combination of traditional styles and the search for more innovative forms.
SOGETSU SCHOOL - In 1927, when it was believed that the practice of Ikebana was now canonized and stable, Sofu Teshigahara founded this school with the motto "everyone can do Ikebana Sogetsu, anytime, anywhere, with any material".
Thus was born freestyle. The compositions are linked to modern art, design, architecture, while maintaining all the classic rules of full-empty or asymmetries. They become three-dimensional and also accommodate elements that do not come from nature (for example, moldable wooden strips, small objects, toys), as long as everything is intimately connected. On the fundamental principle Linea, Massa, Colore, innovation is pursued, in order not to leave Ikebana closed in its world, but to link it to the other arts.
EMPTY and FULL - Alternation is essential. Never be afraid of emptiness: it exists in nature as in Ikebana and is as constructive as a musical pause or a 'but' when we speak.
As far as flowers are concerned, it is never a competition for the "most beautiful". Everyone participates in the result according to their role. But how and how many to choose? For the Ikenobo School, "little is better". The Ohara varies according to the compositional form, but, for example, if in a Rimpa creation you can only use flowers and plants portrayed in the works of the pictorial school.
For Sogetsu, the important thing is the contaminations, so you choose what you need and what you need, together with the right materials.
Harmony with the seasons is one of the fundamental principles of Ikebana: it is always better to prefer what nature is already offering us. Even in winter, a less bursting season than spring, but with a "whispered" beauty. Here then the hellebore and ferns are perfect, but also the evergreen pine with its elegance, the bamboo symbol of tenacity and resilience or the prunusmume, which blooms precisely in these months when everything is asleep, close cousin of the cherry tree and bearer of hope. Among the flowers, the narcissus, the camellia, the rose. The mist gives lightness and refers to the idea of ​​small children. At the base, you can insert the lycopodium moss, so similar to the green of Japanese gardens.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hutchison LMHC
    Dec 06, 2021 @ 13:58:50

    This is very interesting material here. I have enjoyed learning something new. Thank you!
    Many Blessings,
    Lisa

    Reply

  2. Ashley
    Dec 06, 2021 @ 17:26:22

    I love this and will return to it. Last year I found a flower arranging group who were going to do a Ikebana class but then Covid stopped everything and it has not restarted. The Sogetsu video looks good but really it is your pictures and expllanations that has whetted my appetite. Thank you πŸŒΉπŸ€—πŸŒΉπŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ

    Reply

    • Fairy Queen
      Dec 06, 2021 @ 20:26:55

      I’m glad this is a topic of your interest. Well, there are several tutorials on youtube, in addition to the one I put in, and you can start trying some compositions even with something Christmas like pine cones, twigs, blades of grass. πŸ˜„πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  3. abvr
    Dec 07, 2021 @ 20:02:41

    What a wonderful study and beautiful presentation.
    What we call flower arrangement takes on a whole new and deeper meaning in these various schools.
    Flowers set in prose and poetry.

    🌺In order to create true works of art, it is important to form and train the discipline through dedication:🌺

    Oh yes. Operative word is dedication, and one feels the forms of devotion through the various disciplines of flower arrangement.

    Reply

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