Ikebana Flower Arranging

Ikebana flower arranging is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. It originated from the 15th century when Buddhism first arrived in Japan.

At that time, it was offered to the Buddha as offerings and also to the dead spirits.

Sooner, ikebana was took up by the kings and queens and also the nobleman. After that, you could see them at most of the traditional festivals and exhibitions.

Now, it is seen even in the average person's house as a decorative item.

It is said that if you use full bloom flowers in your arrangement, you are representing the past. If you use half-bloomed flowers, you are representing the present. And, guess what? If you use buds, you are representing the future.

What makes ikebana flower arranging different from the normal flower arrangement?

It is actually its shape. Its assymetrical form is the key in Ikebana. And while the normal arrangement tend to fillup the empty spaces, ikebana has a lot of them.

Despite this fact, an ikebana has the harmony between the flowers, containers and its surroundings.

What Are The Styles Of Ikebana?

The styles of ikebana has evolved since the 15th century. Now, there are 5 main styles known worldwide.

The rikka consists of 7 or 9 basic parts with different lengths, angles and directions. Rikka means standing flowers. To make a rikka arrangement, you need to follow strict rules.

The rikka has two varieties : shokutai and shimputai. When the shokutai has 9 parts, the shimputai has only 2 parts, plus an additional part as the final touch.

In rikka, all the parts complement each other to represent the natural landscape.

The shoka, which means living flowers, also has two varieties : shokutai and shimputai.

After the rikka and shoka, freestyle or jiyuka was born. The freestyle is more relaxed. It is up to the arranger to arrange the flowers.

And, a freestyle does not necessarily have to be flowers. It can be anything, from papers, shells to dried materials.

The key is always to observe the texture, shape and colour to harmonize all of them. Use few leaves as possible to enhance the beauty of each element.

For examples of freestyle arrangements, click here.

Then, comes the Nageire, which also means flung flowers. Has 2 varieties : upright nageire and slanting nageire.

The Moribana or piled flowers also has 2 varieties like the Nageire, upright moribana and slanting moribana.

Usually, the Moribana is arranged in a dish-like low and shallow container. And Moribana is famous for its use of Western flowers in its design.

The Nageire and Moribana are not confined and rigid like the rikka and shoka.

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Other useful information...

  • If you're interested on learning ikebana flower arranging, here are some recommended books on arranging Ikebana with simple instructions. Plenty of ideas, too.

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