Sunday, January 31, 2010


Unlike Western flower arrangments, in Japan, flowers and plants are arranged in an art form called Ikebana. Ikebana is a traditional disciplined art of Japanese flower arranging.  In contrast to Western flower arranging, where many flowers are used, Ikebana uses a minimal number of flowers.  Branches, twigs, leaves and stones play an important role in the structure of the arrangement which symbolizes heaven, earth, and man.  The vase is the key element of the arrangement.  In Ikebana, it is not just the flowers that are important.  Ikebana emphasizes the other areas of the plant such as branches and twigs.  The placement of the branches and the relationship of the branches with their environment is important as well.  The container or vase plays a major role in an Ikebana arrangement.  Ikebana can be divided in two styles: Maribana, a shallow vase style, and Nageire, a tall vase style. 

When I was in college, I was introduced to Ikebana.  Whenever I would visit the nuns' convent, there was always an Ikebana arrangement displayed.  After I moved to America, in Boston, I used to practice making Ikebana arrangements (it might have been because of the scarcity of the flowers available).  It takes years and years to practice and master this art form. 

Yesterday, I visited the Ikenobo Ikebana Society in San Francisco.  Here are some of the arrangments from the Ikebana Society.









For more memorable flower arrangements, tablescapes and recipes, please check out my book, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen, at my website
Please check out  Susan's website for Metamorphosis Monday.

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