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Ikebana – arranging nature

Bloggers! So glad you could join me again :D

Today’s post topic is Ikebana.  It’s the Japanese art of arranging flowers and leaves in an aesthetically pleasing way, and tends to have a lot of symbolism and meaning behind the arrangements. I was fortunate enough to attend a session provided by the Ichiyo school of Ikebana. The Iemoto (headmaster) himself was there to give us a demonstration, and his English was pretty good.

Ikebana (28)

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with Katsuya-san. It was fascinating to watch the various combinations he put together (some of them I’d never think possible, like the one above where he arranged Nandina (or nanten) branches and roses together). Every one of them turned out beautiful and eye catching, even without knowing all the meaning behind the combinations.

   Each arrangement was made in a different Ikebana style (upright, low, wide, and varying with the container) but the same textbook principles of the Ichiyo school were being applied in the way the flowers were cut and the basic placement of them. He pieced together 7 arrangements while we all looked on in appreciation of how to place the Kenza (stand supporting the flowers) for summer (in the back, to see the water in the container) versus winter (in the front, to hide the water in the container), and the meaning of each of the plants used to convey the seasons, etc.

Ikebana (234)
Ikebana (235)

   Katsuya-san’s son was there as back up, and also has inherited his father’s Ikebana occupation, but has his own style. He later walked us through doing our own Ikebana, which was both fun and humbling. It really made me realize how much thought and effort goes into ikebana. It’s not just tossing flowers in a vase and making sure the colors match.

I also found it very relaxing and peaceful to work through how to place the flowers. It becomes a sort of game almost, like a contest against yourself to see how creative you can be within the stringent basic three rules an Ikebana-ka (practitioner of Ikebana) must adhere to.

Ikebana (182)

;p Almost looks like a rocket science diagram, doesn’t it? You have to not only have artsy taste, but also be pretty smart to practice Ikebana. The more modern style was shown to us in the demonstration, and we were informed that each Ikebana school has its own approach to the art, although three basic ground rules (as shown on the board in the picture) remain the same among all practitioners of flower arranging.

But to call it simply ‘flower arranging’ doesn’t do it justice. Ikebana is much more than that. Like the tea ceremony, this art and all the other arts that thrive in Japanese tradition, are ways to further perfect yourself through practicing them. It is beautiful and poetic, really.

After this demonstration, I’m pretty sure I’ve found me a new hobby (^,^)

Till next time, bloggers! Hope to post soon!

Ja ne!




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