Ikebana (flower arrangement), c. 1910.

1910sAmusements & RecreationsArts & CultureGeisha/Maiko/Onnanoko
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Maiko & ikebana, c. 1910.

Maiko & New Years’ ikebana arrangement, c. 1910. Ikebana is from the Japanese ikeru (“keep alive, arrange flowers, living”) and hana (“flower”).

“The essence of ikebana is simplicity, and in contrast to Western flower arrangement, very few flowers, leaves, and stems are used to achieve the desired effect. Ikebana uses the flowers, the container, and the space around the flower arrangement as part of the artistic expression.

“… The essence of the Buddhist art is the Buddhist practice of the artist. The art itself is an expression of enlightenment and the creation of the art an act of enlightenment.”

The Everything Buddhism Book: A complete introduction to the history, traditions, and beliefs of Buddhism, past and present, by Arnie Kozak, 2010

From the wiki: “Ikebana (‘living flowers’) is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, also known as kadō (the ‘way of flowers’). More than simply putting flowers in a container, ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together; to arrange flowers to represent heaven, earth and humanity.

Maiko and ikebana arrangement, c. 1910.

“Although the precise origin of ikebana is unknown, it is thought to have come to Japan as part of Buddhist practice when Buddhism reached Japan in the 6th century. The offering of flowers on the altar in honor of Buddha was part of worship. Ikebana evolved from the Buddhist practice of offering flowers to the spirits of the dead.

“The first classical style of ikebana, the school of Ikenobo, started in the middle of the fifteenth century; the first students and teachers of ikebana were Buddhist priests and members. Ikenobo began with a priest of the Rokkaku-dō Temple in Kyoto who was so skilled in flower arrangement that other priests sought him out for instruction. As he lived by the side of a lake, for which the Japanese word is ‘ike’, and the word ‘bo’ meaning priest, they are contracted by the possessive particle ‘no’ to give the meaning ‘priest of the lake’: ‘Ikenobo’. Thus, the name ‘Ikenobo’ became attached to the priests there who specialized in these altar arrangements. As time passed, other schools emerged, styles changed, and ikebana became a custom among the Japanese society.

“Contrary to the idea of floral arrangement as a collection of particolored or multicolored arrangement of blooms, ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, form. Though ikebana is a creative expression, it has certain rules governing its form. The artist’s intention behind each arrangement is shown through a piece’s color combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the usually implied meaning of the arrangement.”

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