Pretty Ikebana is the Japanese traditional art of arranging flowers. It literally means “living flowers”, has a symbolic character and is used for decoration. These Ikebana Floral art is also seen as a form of meditation. Ancient Chinese wisdom says that the art of Ikebana is a connection between the human mind and nature. Every Ikebana reflects the inner peace, feelings and sensations of the manufacturer.
The Ikebana flower art and its history
In the 6th century Buddhism came to China and with it the custom of offering flowers to Buddha and the souls of the deceased. In the 17th century, ikebana officially became an art regardless of religion. The first teachers were clergymen and the students were aristocrats. Many schools sprang up teaching arranging, and over time the Ikebana flower art also accessible to the bourgeoisie. This included samurais and wealthy traders, as well as women. The founder of the first ikebana school was a clergyman from the Rokkakudo temple in Kyoto. His works were so wonderful that other clergymen sought his advice.
The pretty ikebana – what styles are there?
There are three main types:
- Standing upright
- Falling down like a waterfall
The Ikebana Flower Art – The Rikka Style
In the beginning it existed Ikebana flower art from a simple composition of three stems. One of these was the central and longer stem, to which two more and shorter ones were added. At the beginning of the 17th century, however, the Rikka, which means “upright flowers”, was created in the Buddhist Ikenobo school and is made up of seven main lines. A good technical ability was required for this. Tall bronze vases were used. The main element symbolizes the sky and is arranged asymmetrically by pointing to the left or right. Later it takes a vertical and central position. The many other branches, each with their own symbolic meaning and decorative function, are arranged in the middle in such a way that they form the core of an original sphere. Rikka is a microcosm that represents the whole universe in the form of an image of nature. Its main elements are of great importance for the later forms of ikebana. They are the asymmetry, spatial depth and symbolism.
The Ikebana flower art – Chabana
The exact opposite of rikka is the simpler form of chabana (tea flowers). This style emerged in the 16th century as part of tea ceremonies. It consists of one or two branches or flowers arranged in a small vessel.
The nageire also emerged from the chabana. It means something like “insert”. In this style, few elements are arranged in a tall vase. It is also characterized by a simpler and more relaxed composition.
The Rikka and Nageire determine the subsequent development of the Ikebana flower art. On the one hand the complicated technique, the swing of the composition, the symbolism and the strict styles are important, on the other hand the spontaneity, the simplicity, the ambiguity and the respect for the natural character of the elements.
Ikebana flower art – more styles
However, as the rikka became stiffer and more formal, a new, simpler style emerged. He calls himself Seika or Shoka, from the Chinese “living flowers”. This style is more official and consists of 3 branches arranged to create a triangle figure. Many schools impose their styles, but the three branches are called Ten (Heaven), Chi (Earth), and Jin (Human).
The pretty one was created in the 19th century Ikebana Floral art called Moribana. While in the other styles the individual elements are arranged together in one place, in the Moribana various aids are used with which the individual elements are distributed in a flat vessel. Such vessels are called suiban. Kensani are also used. They represent a cushion of needles to which the flowers and plants are attached. With the Moribana, landscapes can be designed in a natural way and not in a symbolic way, as with the other styles. Stones and minerals can be used. This style allows free imagination, but is more specific and complicated than the nageire.
Ikebana flower art – Jiyuka and Bunjinbana
Another style is the Jiyuka. That means “free falling flowers”. This style has no rules regarding composition. Jiyuka is mainly about showing the artistic skills and creativity of the maker, as well as showing his idea of beauty. The use of all possible materials is also permitted here.
The bunjinbana is a form that is arranged by writers. It reflects the sensitivity of the Chinese students and artists. The Japanese style of Bunjinbana has a great influence on the nageire. This style of Ikebana flower art is meant to express personal feelings, therefore it has no religious character. It only serves the occasion. Arranging is very different from the official Rikka or Seika.
Arrange ikebana flower art at home too
The nageire is considered the lightest style of all. That is why you can easily arrange pretty ikebana at home too by sticking to this style. Everything you need for that Ikebana flower art need is:
- A tall vase with a narrow neck
- A branch that you use as a support by placing it in the center of the vase in the shape of a cross. This branch can be from a grapevine or a young branch from a tree.
- Choose three of your favorite flowers. They should be of different lengths.
- The longest flower should always be on the side of your left shoulder. The other two are arranged so that the flowers are facing up.