The origins of ikebana

Ikebana is the all-Japanese art of arranging flowers and has very remote origins. In ancient times it was known by the name of Kado but it was based on the same principles that even now regulate this artistic discipline. The term Ikebana translated means living flowers but the basic meaning is deeper. They are not simple floral compositions but a spiritual path of elevation that follows the principles of Zen.While Western culture tends to put flowers in vases casually based only on personal tastes and color combinations, in Japan it is an art that is anything but simple. Ikebana is a discipline and those who practice it aim to obtain a perfect balance, harmony and ideal proportions between the various floral species used.

The materials used

The materials used in ikebana are all strictly organic in nature. In addition to the flowers, ears of wheat, bark but also leaves, acorns and mushrooms of all types are also used. Not all flowers are suitable but the usable variety is very conspicuous. The key thing is that they are fresh and the most suitable for their resistance are calla lilies, peonies and tulips. However, wild flowers can also be used depending on the season or those that arise spontaneously at the edges of waterways.The compositions last a long time but to achieve this it is essential to follow some steps. The flowers are cut in the early morning hours and then must be cut a second time keeping the stem immersed in cold water.

The essential tools

To create each single composition with the oriental ikebana technique, it is necessary to have some tools available. Springless shears as well as syringes and scissors of various sizes are indispensable.The kenzan is another tool that you cannot do without and can be purchased in shops for florists or in one of the many online e-commerce sites . It is characterized by a solid circular lead structure from which nails of various lengths emerge. It is placed on the base and allows the flowers to remain vertical without other supports. Containers also have their importance because they are an integral part of the composition. They can have any shape and the most suitable materials are terracotta, straw and metal.

Ikebana: All schools

Ikebana, being a very ancient art, has undergone some variations over time, giving rise to different schools of thought but still similar to the basic idea behind this Japanese practice. The most famous schools are Ohara, Ikenobo and Sogetsu. Each differs from the others for having a different and completely original style. Some compositions are prepared exclusively to decorate the table during the tea ceremony. They are small in size and are commonly called chabana or tea flowers. In Italy ikebana was introduced in the sixties of the last century because some volumes were published that explained the origins of this art by proposing examples to be put into practice in full autonomy.

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