The Japanese art of flower arrangement, Ikebana, is more than simply putting flowers in a container. Its
choice of materials are living branches, leaves, grasses, and blossoms. It is an art form exhibiting a
conscious consideration of nature and humanity brought together.
Ikebana has a recorded history; it is backed up by articulate theories and it is concerned with creativity. Over the six centuries of its evolution, ikebana has developed many different styles of arrangement. Two of the most popular styles are heika (also called rikka. seika, or shoka) and moribana.
Traditionally, ikebana use to decorate only the alcoves in rooms where guests were normally greeted. Now, it can be admired in entrance halls, living rooms, lobbies, and shop windows.
Both men and women study ikebana. Although, the greatest creations in the field are apt to be made by highly skilled experts, there is plenty of room for amateurs. With a little time and inclination, almost anyone can acquire sufficient skill to make beautiful arrangements. Like other arts, it is necessary to master certain fundamental techniques before proceeding to free creation.
Many feel that the spiritual aspect of ikebana is important. Practicing ikebana helps to live "in the moment”, appreciate nature, have more patience and tolerance, and inspire you to identify with beauty in all art forms.
The varying forms of ikebana share common qualities, regardless of the period or school. Branches, leaves, grasses, moss, and fruit may be used in arrangement, as well as flowers. When in full bloom, withered leaves, seed pods, and buds are valued as highly as flowers.
Each element in the arrangement requires an artistic eye, whether a work is composed of only one kind of material or of many. Arrangers with a considerable amount of technical skill combines materials to create beauty that cannot be found in nature.
Its asymmetrical form and use of empty space as an essential feature is what distinguishes ikebana from other approaches of flower arrangement. It is crucial to create a sense of harmony among the materials, the container, and the setting. Ikebana shares these characteristics of aesthetics with traditional Japanese paintings, gardens, architecture, and design.