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The Land of the Living Flowers...and the Rising Sun

Ikebana by Julie Nakatani, Ikenobo School - www.ikebana.orgI just came across a rather interesting exibition which is currently on at the British Museum - seven different Japanese flower arrangements are to be displayed over seven weeks, a perfect chance to have a taste of the fascinating art of Ikebana!

For those who have never heard of Ikebana, literally meaning living flowers, it refers to the the Japanese art of flower arrangement. In contrast to Western flower arrangement styles, Ikebana puts emphasis on assymetries, and makes use of empty space and elegant lines to accentuate the beauty of their floral design.

With a Buddhist origin, Ikebana aims to represent the beauty and harmony of nature, while capturing its transience through the arrangement of flower blossoms and other materials such as branches and leaves. The entire structure of a Japanese flower arrangement is based on three main points that symbolize heaven, earth, and man.

Currently there are 3 main schools of Ikebana - Ikenobo, Sogetsu  and Ohara. Ikenobo was said to be the founder of Ikebana, introducing the form of standing flower, which was developed as the Buddhist expression for nature's beauty. Sogetsu teaches Ikebana in a disciplined manner using patterns, where there are 3 main branches arranged to precise angles and shapes. Ohara later introduced the use of shallow, flat containers. This style is described as 'piled up flowers', which allows more freedom into the arrangements following influences from the West.

Another fascinating point - this art form is enjoyed in Japan by men and women alike! In fact, currently, the leading flower arrangers are for the most part, men.

Do go and take a look at this exquisite form of floral art at the exhibition if you happen to be in or around London before the 19th August 2007. For more information on the exhibition, take a look at:

British Museum- future exhibitions - ikebana

You can find out more about Ikebana and its background history at:

Prepared by Tracy, posted by Bob

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