Ikebana Flower Arranging

Japanese flower arranging, Ikebana is simple. Even a single flower serves as a symbol of universal truth, providing the medium through which humans can become one with nature.

Japanese flower arrangement, Ikebana is as simple as their interior. Even a single flower serves as a symbol of universal truth, providing the medium through which humans can become one with nature. Ikebana is a flower-arranging technique that incorporates fresh flowers into your houseplants, paying close attention to the balance, line and depth of the arrangement.

Ikebana means living plant material arrangement. Generally, the term Ikebana is used for any type of Japanese flower arrangement. However, Ikebana is the art of flower arrangement that needs to stick to many rules. It not only has the artistic appeal but it also has a deep philosophical meaning.

"žX While western arrangements emphasize on using many flowers Ikebana uses very few. Sometimes an arrangement may have only one flower.

"žX The western arrangement has many layers of flowers while Ikebana strives at striking the balance between the material used for the arrangement and its surroundings.

"žX While western arrangements stress ¡§colors¡¨ Ikebana stresses ¡§lines¡¨.

Ikebana evolved in Japan over seven centuries and had always been the domain of men. Women started taking it up recently.

In Ikebana the flowers are chosen to convey philosophical meaning. For example full blown, half blown and the bud convey past, present and the future respectively.

There are few basic principles of handling the material to ensure a longer life of arrangement.

"žX Flowers should be cut early morning or early evening when they have maximum water in their stems. They should be immersed in the water immediately.

"žX Flower stems should be cut diagonally under the running water before placing them in the arrangement. However, flowers with very thin stem can be cut straight.

"žX Containers can be of any type. They should be minimum 4¡¨ deep. They are always kept very clean as polluted water reduces the life span of flowers.

"žX In Ikebana style the containers change according to the season. In summer baskets, in fall and spring earthen and in winter metal containers are used.

"žX The flower arrangement is always against the plain background to achieve the balance between them.

"žX The arrangement is meant to be admired from all the angles so it is always three-dimensional.

There are two types of basic arrangements in Ikebana.

1) Heika ¡V This is a very old arrangement style. It uses tall vases and has many rules.

2) Moribana ¡V This is a relatively new style, thus it is much more flexible that Heika. It uses shallow containers.

However, both the styles follow the common basic placements of material.

There are three placements in these arrangements,

1) Shin ¡V It means ¡¥heaven¡¦. It is the longest placement.

2) Soe ¡V It means ¡¥man¡¦. It is a medium placement.

3) Hikae ¡V It means ¡¥earth¡¦. It is the shortest placement.

Apart from these three placements all the additional branches and the flowers used are called ¡§Jushi.¡¨

The total number of placements is always odd in Ikebana. According to Japanese design principles even is symmetry. Symmetry is never encouraged as it is viewed as stagnation. On the other hand odd is asymmetry, which reflects nature and is viewed as creative.

In any standard size arrangement Shin is equal to the width + the depth of the container and up to half. Soe is always 3/4th of Shin and Hikae is 3/4th of Soe. No placement is longer than Shin.

Upright and the slanting styles are common to both Moribana and Hikae.

It takes about 4/5 years for any practitioner to master the process of Ikebana. Though it follows many rules it is a very creative process. It allows the practitioner to express his moods and the temperament. It is viewed as a very relaxing process as it allows the practitioner to unwind himself slowly.

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