Thursday Fun and Facts: A History of Dried Flowers

A lot of our recent posts have featured the weather rather heavily, so for today's blog we thought we'd take a step back inside (it's chilly out there, after all), and look at a long-running tradition which doesn't mean getting caught out in the January chill.

We're talking about the age-old art of creating pictures out of dried flowers - or as its known in its homeland of Japan, Oshibana. 

Oshibana apparently dates back to around the 16th Century, when Japanese artists began using dried flowers not just as abstract decorations, but to create representational pictures: for example, by using coloured petals to portray landscapes, mountains, or oceans. 

The artist would arrange dried flower petals on a mat. When the picture was complete, the flowers can be glued into place, giving a lasting portrait which could be hung on a wall for decoration. The art takes great  finesse, and some of the resulting images have a remarkable, serene feel to them, as though all of the time and patience put into their creation is still emanating from the finished Oshibana.

In the early Victorian era, Japanese and European traders began trading more often, resulting in Oshibana becoming more popular amongst artists in Victorian society.

And Oshibana still carries on today - Nobuo Sugino is now President of the International Pressed Flower Art Society, and also the author of the "International Pressed Flower Art Book". The society boasts over a thousand members, according to its website - found here. The image at the top of this post is one of Sugino's, as is the one below - an example of 'jewel box', or 3-dimensional flower art.

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