A Brief History of Ikebana

Literal Definition

The word ikebanais usually defined as “the Japanese art of flower arrangement.” But its literal meaning comes from two separate Japanese words: ikeru, a verb meaning to arrange and hana, a noun meaning flower; bana eventually became a phonetic variant of hana.

Deeper Meaning

Ikebana is more than simply putting flowers in a container. It is a disciplined art form in which the arrangement is a living thing where nature and humanity are brought together.

The growing appreciation of Japanese art and architecture in the West has now been extended to this Japanese way with flowers. Ikebana is recognized as an art form: It has a recorded history and incorporates creativity with defined principles, methods, and styles.

Its materials are living branches, leaves, grasses, and blossoms. Just about any living plant (those developing, those in its prime, and indeed those passed its prime) can be used. Even a small weed can be given an important place in an arrangement. In some contemporary styles, non-living materials are also incorporated.

In Japan, ikebana arrangements are considered objets d’art that are on a level with paintings and sculptures. The beauty of an ikebana floral display is a result of color combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, various textures, as well as the artist’s hidden meaning within the arrangement’s form.