Japanese flower art, brief history
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Eastern flower art finds its roots in offering flowers to the Gods. In India, in Buddhism, we can probably find the oldest roots. In third century after Christ in China ChanBuddhism started flower offering and its development as a form of art. Around 700 flower art is from China brought to Japan by monks. Here we see flowers in the temple decoration, as offer to Buddha. The Chinese book History of vases, influenced Ikebana deeply. In 15e century from here the first and well-known Ikenobo school is developed. This school has developed many styles of flower art. Still today made by many around the world. At the end of 19e century in Japan the Ohara school is founded and in 1925 the modern Sogetsu school. Today Japan has many schools and world wide many local departments and students. The oldest book about Japanese flower art comes from 1499. The title is Kaoirai no Kadensho or Kaorirai flower arrangement book.
Influences of Japanese flower art, Ikebana, on Western flower art
When the American navy in 1868 Japan pushed to open the country and gave up her isolated position, the rest of the world was amazed about the beautiful art and the knowledge and habits of this Eastern country. Japan began a westernization and modernization. People in the West started to collect Japanese prints and art pieces. We see from that moment many influences in western culture. Styles changed with Japanese ideas. Also in flower art we see an immense influence. After Josiah Condor published in the west the first book about Ikebana, it became in the West popular. Western flower art till that moment was mainly decorative, had a mass design and classic idea. Now we see simplicity, line and open space taking their place. Many flower art publications from that time show us Japanese flower art, it was trend. It was logical that traditional Western flower art started to change. Because of this change styles developed and new styles appeared.
At first in Europe many clubs and local Ikebana schools started. In Europe people learned to arrange flowers in the real Japanese styles. Even today this is the case. The other side is the influence in the traditional European flower art and the change of it. New style with influence from Japan became popular. We see this in the designs with elements as the open elegant lines and empty spaces; absolute Japanese effects. This enriches led to diversity on European styles and designs.
One of the developments around 1990 and later is the Japanese classical techniques such as kubari and stitch and clasp techniques in Western flower art. We see this techniques as basis for new creative styles and new idea in design. Also it is gives possibilities these techniques to use in new forms of environmentally friendly flower arrangement.
Interesting is to know the change of ideas between Japan and the West now is complete because it is popular in Japan, to arrange flowers in European way. Classical styles like Biedermeier and the triangular style are popular, as well as more contemporary ideas. Also people follow famous European floral designers and champions in their work. Flower art becomes more and more an International flower art within many interesting personal creative ideas of the floral artist.
Japanese Ikebana schools
Most schools use three basic principles in the flower arrangement. Each school has their own names for it. the three are: heaven, men, earth (Shin, Shoe, Tai).
Bamboo, Cherry flowers, and Pinus are favorite and symbolic materials in Ikebana. Flower arranging during the thee ceremony became important and have the name Chabana. Flower arrangements will be placed in a special nice, Tokonoma. The most importance schools of Ikebana in Japan are:
This is the oldest school and exists from arranging flowers, as they say, by Ono-No-Imoko. He creates his flower arrangements for Buddha and gave a symbolic meaning. His ike-no-bo arrangements (according the monk who lives at the lakeside) led to the famous styles like: Rikka, Shoka, and Nageire.
Last update of this page 23.05.2004