The Ikebana craft is one of the traditional art of Japan, practiced for more than 600yrs. It is said to be developed from Buddhist ritual of offering flowers to the spirits of dead. The initiation of this flower arrangement is known from a priest of Rokkaku-do temple in Kyoto, who had fine knowledge of arranging flowers beautifully and aesthetically. The succeeding priests there sought his instructions as well. Ikenobo is the largest and oldest school teaching the art of arranging flowers, Ikebana. The word Ikenobo refers to the name of the buildings and the lake associated with the Rokkaku-do temple in Kyoto, Japan and the family which has served in following generations as priests of the temple. A much known Rikka style (standing flowers) of Ikenobo School, Ikebana represents nature through various things. The style was developed as a Buddhist expression of the aesthetics of nature. Fundamental to this style are seven branches that represent elements of nature (ryou – a peak, gaku – a hill, rou – a waterfall, shi – a town by the water, bi – a valley, you – the sunlit side of the scene, in – the shady side of the scene). Other branches signify endurance and eternity and chrysanthemums signify life, different kinds of mums (Chrysanthemums) are also used when arranging. As time passed it became a major part of traditional festivals and ceremonies. Exhibitions were also held, rules were prescribed and specific ways were supposed to be followed in arranging materials.
Ikebana was recognized in Japan and eventually it spread overseas too. People who visited Japan and got to witness Ikebana, carried this art of arranging flowers home, and gradually it came to be acknowledged outside Japan. At Ernakulum, one of the cities of Kochi (Kerala, India) was found to be practicing this art of arranging flowers (Ikebana). There are many ways of arranging flowers and the method followed at Ernakulum is quite unique from that of the Japanese. Ikebana of Ernakulum has more flowers and stems attached, and is made to look like a beautiful flower bush or the arrangement takes the shape of the container.
The flower arrangement of Ikebana doesn’t just give importance to the color and blossom set in a vase, it focuses on overall charisma of plant material, straight and twirls, difference of lengths, all add to the arrangement and the balance. Ikebana follows simple yet beautiful and a natural way of arranging flowers, it reflects the revered relationship between man and nature which is practiced in a quiet and pensive state. It matches well with a light background wall and everything looks synchronized. It creates the feeling of oneness and closer to nature and gives spiritual vibrations beautifying things not just from the outer looks but from within.