A bit of history
The origins of ikebana go back to the introduction of Buddhism in Japan. It was customary to offer flowers to the Buddha. Zen Buddhism is the source of this complex and codified art where the human being, in total harmony with nature, must create an object of contemplation in accordance with his state of mind. It is the monks and Samurai who will be the precursors of this traditional art.
« An ancestral art dedicated to flowers and all plants. It is born of respect for nature, deeply rooted in Japanese culture.«
The Ikebana Philosophy
Ikebana means above all to give life to the flowers, to make them speak so that they show us the way to wisdom and tranquility. The practitioner must learn the language of the plant to understand its philosophy.
Ikebana is also called « kadô », the path of the flowers. (« ka » is the flowers, « dô » is the path).
In contrast to the decorative form of our floral arrangements, the Japanese floral arrangement creates a harmony of linear construction, rhythm and colour. While we try to accentuate the quantity and colours of the flowers, focusing our attention mainly on the beauty of the flower, the Japanese accentuate the linear aspect of the arrangement. They have developed an art that values the vase, stems, leaves and branches as well as the flower itself. Each flower is important, and each flower has a well-defined position.
To compose an ikebana you have to listen to nature, to feel it in order to imitate it; if this branch is bent, it is because another branch was giving it shade, you have to respect the history of the plant, it is the work of nature. It is a question of bringing man and nature closer together by playing on the forms and volumes of the plant.
« It is an art that rests the spirit, the bouquet must reflect the state of mind of the person composing it.«
The symbolism of Ikebana
The complete structure of the Japanese floral arrangement focuses on three main points symbolizing the sky, earth and man through the three pillars: asymmetry, space and depth. These three stems represented heaven, man and earth. The sky is always represented by the highest point of the composition, the human being is in second position towards the centre, and the ground is horizontal and lower than the other two.
Represented by an upright and well erected shape you will choose a branch, or a very rigid floral scape to represent it. This element will be the climax of the composition.
Located in the middle of the decor, often slightly tilted, it can be represented by a beautiful and delicate central flower or by textured foliage.
It is expressed through plants placed at the lowest point of the composition, sometimes even horizontally.
For example, bamboos will symbolize prosperity, peach blossoms will be a hymn to femininity, the yellow camellia will represent nostalgia, the narcissus for respect or the peony for courage.
The styles of Ikebana
There are today several styles of Ikebana from the most traditional to the most recent:
● nageire: the oldest and most codified, a flower sublime all.
● rikka: traditional style in large and fine vases.
● shoka: traditional style with only three lines and therefore three types of plants in wide and flat vases, it is a simplified version of the rikka.
● jiyuka: free style, the most recent, it must however also express a season in the composition.
There are between 1,500 and 3,000 Ikebana schools in Japan. Today 3 major schools dominate the Japanese landscape:
● Ikenobo: the oldest (16th century),
● Sogetsu: the most avant-garde, created a little later,
● Ohara: founded in the 19th century by Unshin Ohara.
Book your discovery course
We organize introductory courses in Paris. Individuals or companies, book your discovery course and make your first Ikebana, contact us :
By email : contact(at)ikebanakado.com
By phone: +33 6 60 60 30 10