Containers Used in Ikebana

containers used in ikebana


A container may be selected for a particular arrangement after the arranger examines the nature of the available floral and branch materials. Alternatively, a container may inspire the selection of materials that will be included in the arrangement. The size of the container should be suitable for the space where it is to be placed, and the materials must be cut in proportion to the size of the container.

Container Shapes

Containers used for ikebana are made from many different materials, including glass, porcelain, stoneware, metal, wood, bamboo, and even plastic. Their silhouettes come in all shapes and in different sizes.

Tall & Narrow: a container that’s often used for nageire arrangements without the use of a kenzan.

Pot: usually a bulbous container with a small opening.

Bowl: a round or angled deep dish that can flare at the top.

Compote vase: a pedestal container that provides height to an arrangement.

Shallow (suiban): a container with sides that are only 1 ½ to 3 inches high. Can be round, oval, square, rectangular, and even triangular.

Free form: containers that are amorphous, tubular, and have multiple openings.

Metal Containers

Metal containers come in all shapes and sizes. Some may be polished while others may have a weathered patina. A bronze usubata (center photo) is an ancient receptacle often used in formal arrangements.

Basket Containers

Baskets are generally used during warm months, from spring through early fall. Light-colored or bleached bamboo baskets are used in spring and summer and dark baskets are for fall and some winter arrangements. To keep floral materials hydrated, use a receptacle that can hold water and place it inside the basket.