Ikebana flower arrangement: 8 Unique styles

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. It is more than just arranging the flowers in a container, it is an art. This art tries to bring together nature (heaven & earth) and humanity together, that is bringing humanity closer to the nature. This art is also known as kado (meaning way of flowers).

The word Ikebana means “giving life to flowers”.

Ikebana – An art or flower arrangement?

Any plant materials can be used for this awesome art form of floral arrangement. Most common materials are branches, leaves, grasses and flowers. Its beauty comes from color combinations, natural shapes, lines and total form of arrangement. So this art is more than mere floral arrangement. Ikebana is now getting more and more popular in western hemisphere as well. Every one is appreciating this form of floral arrangement, just like painting.

Ikebana flower arrangement

How is Ikebana different from flower arrangement?

Its asymmetrical form and use of empty spaces sets this apart from other forms of floral arrangement. You can feel a sense of harmony among the materials used in this floral arrangement. Its aesthetics share lot of common features from Japanese gardening, landscaping and paintings. Selection and arrangement needs an artistic touch with considerable skill to combine all materials into an enticing centerpiece.

Can I try ikebana as a home decor?

This art form is very much popular in Japan and that shows the Japanese love of nature. Japanese love for nature is visible in every nook and corner, be it in their homes or cars or offices, they always have some kind of natural decors which represent the beauty of nature. So the love of nature is like religion in Japan. This floral arrangement is one of the best decor to bring nature inside your home.

Ikebana and Buddhism: The spiritual line

We cannot neglect the spiritual aspect of ikebana flower arrangement. It helps you to live in the moment and to appreciate the materials of nature, which were seemed insignificant. You become more and more patient and tolerant to this nature and to other people. This is basic mantra that Buddhism teaches, which explains the direct relationship between Ikebana and Buddhism. This art form can ignite the artist in your and you will definitely start to love other forms of arts.

Ikebana styles:

  • Rikka Style

    This style is taught and practiced by Ikenobo School. Rikka is a formal upright style, which portrays the beauty of the natural landscape. It can be classified into two styles, Rikka Shofutai which is more traditional and Rikka Shimputai which is more contemporary.

Rikka Ikebana arrangement

  • Shoka Style

    Shoka is also practiced by Ikenobo School. It is a simple, graceful style suggesting the essential character of a plant as it grows in response to the factors in its natural environment. Though it looks very simple, it is one of the toughest ikebana flower arrangement. Similar to Rikka, Shoka can be classified into two, traditional shofutai and modern shimputai.

Shoka floral style

Shoka ikebana style

  • Shinka style

    Shinka is the modern style of Misho School. Basically Shinka is divided into two styles, called Moribana and Heika. Moribana use the wide and shallow vases as shown below. Moribana is also practiced by Ohara School .

Moribana style with Chrysanthymum Moribana ikebana floral style Moribana Style of Ikebana

Heika uses long and narrow vases, as shown below.

Heika Incline Ikebana arrangement

  • Kakubana style

The below inspiration  was done by the Head of Misyo School. It consists of simple and perfect geometric designs. The tallest branch represents heaven which is called Ten, medium one represents human beings which is called Jin and shortest one represents earth which is called Chi.

Kakubana style

  • Free style:

Taught by Ryuseiha school and in this, the artist is free to express his or her individual personality. Moderns styles demand more flexibility and fewer restrictions, so that the arranger can express his or her feelings and emotions more freely. This style represents more flexible harmony between humans and natural things surrounding them.

Ikebana free Style Free Style Ikebana Arrangement Free Style arrangement using anthurum

  • Nageire style

Nageire is a non-structured arrangement of flowers. The stems are bundled together tightly to form a triangular asymmetric design. It gives more stress to the natural beauty of flowers and plants used in this arrangement. It is arranged more freely than the traditional rikka and shoka styles. Vases used for nageire are cylindrical, tall and with narrow mouth opening. It is composed of three main branches: shin, soe and  tai. One of the main characteristics of nagerie is that one branch will hang below the mouth of vase and the other two will be upright, with one being tall and other a shorter one.

Nageire arrangement of flower

  • Morimono style

This style uses fruits and vegetables in addition to flowers and branches. Here you will get a tutorial on how to make an Ikebana in Marimono style : Marimono Fruits of passion from ikebanabeautiful.com 

Morimono ikebana style

Here are other useful references for Ikebana flower arrangement:

  1. Ikebana By Junko 
  2. Ikebana international
  3. Infographics from Yumi Sakugawa:
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