new york public library image 1253801Ikebana 生け花, the Japanese word for arranged flower, is the ancient Japanese art of floral arranging. The Japanese have been mastering the art of flowers for centuries, roughly 600 years. Each placement the flower has a distinct meaning and purpose.
Ikebana focuses on minimalistic irregular design which are very refreshing and modern. Emphasis is placed on the natural line of a stem or curve of a leaf. It is organic in design using branches, dried materials, single blooms, shrubs, stones, and leaves. In fact the material used in a design is only limited by the arranger's imagination.
Illustrations are from a 1673 Japanese Book Rikka Zo found in the New York Public Library Digital Gallery:
rikka zo flower arrangement, (NYPL 1400964)I was able to take an Ikebana class in college where I learned the different meanings of placement points such as heaven, earth and man. Through the years I have collected a few antique and vintage Ikebana design books and hope to do my best to accurately share with you different styles through this blog in a simplistic way. Ikebana is quite intense with many different ancient schools such as Ohara, Ikenobo, Kofu, Sho-fu-ryu, Sogetsu and Modern each with their own design style.
Japanese Women via 1890 practicing Ikebana
new york public library image 119458There is a great spiritual aspect of Ikebana. It is practiced in silence, becoming one with the design and appreciating the beauty of nature often overlooked by a busy lifestyle. It has held the same prestige artistically as sand-painting, the tea ceremony and incense burning.
So today I am lightly focusing on the art and providing some images. In future posts I hope to delve into different styles, tools used and even Ikebana designs I will make. So stay tuned!
japanese flower arrangement for beginners, susan powell
Floral Art of Japan, 1936
Japanese Flower Arrangement for Beginners, 1962