29 Sep /14


Ikebana is a type of flower arranging unique to Japan. It differs from Western flower arranging because of its asymmetric shapes, use of space, use of all parts of the flowers including the stems and leaves, and because the finished form is not only aesthetically pleasing, but conveys philosophical meaning, also.

Captain Francis Brinkley, an advisor to the new Meiji government and later the owner of a Japanese newspaper, wrote the Oriental Series: Japan in 1901. He remarked that “The name applied to it, ike-bana, or ‘living flower’, explains at once the fundamental principle..that the flowers must be so arranged as to suggest the idea of actual life”. His description became the first reference to ikebana in the English language. During the post war period in Japan, it became a popular past time for many wives of U.S. army officers stationed in the country thus helping to spread knowledge of this art form to the rest of the world.

As with many aspects of Japanese culture, ikebana can trace it roots back to Buddhism and the practice of leaving an arrangement of flowers at the altar. These days, people practice ikebana in quiet, thoughtful reflection selecting the elements of the piece and arranging them in such a way as to make a statement on the interaction between humans and the natural world.