By Ruby and Aviva
What Is Ikebana?
Ikebana is the art of Japanese flower arranging. In the beginning of its time it was used to show status and religion. Around 600 AD only the wealthiest families owned Ikebana. It was also used in Buddhist temples and religious practices until the 1600s, when they were converted to decorations without spiritual meaning. Although the flower arrangements look random, they were incredibly precise, and each flower was intentionally placed in its location. All of the flowers and plants were based on arithmetic and geometric equations.
Different parts of the Ikebana leaves and sticks hit exact areas, symbolizing the flow of nature. The top of the Ikebana leaves represented heaven and was also known as the principal part. All leaves pointed in the cardinal directions, and the principal point was due north. The Jin points, which symbolized man and pointed eastwards, were known as the sub-principal parts, and the bottom point, that symbolized earth, or Chi, pointed south.
Connection to China
The Yin-Yang points of the Ikebana connect to China because the Taoists in China also believed in Yin-Yang, or the balance in nature. This is shown in Ikebana because of the balance and proportions in all of the leaves.
Gender in ikebana
Ikebana flowers had the following genders:
- flower buds = women
- blossomed = men
- wilting/weak = women
- colorful/strong = men
Connection to japanese culture
In Medieval Times Japanese culture, women were not very well respected. They did not have much power and were viewed as weak. This might have been why the Japanese showed the wilting flowers as female, and the vigorous flowers as male.
Different plants and flowers had all sorts of meanings. Each Ikebana arrangement delivers a certain mood and message. They can be used to tell stories and communicate ideas.
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