Ikebana under the spotlight at Embassy of Japan
Spokesperson for the Embassy of Japan, Taro Sawada, says a delegation of Ikebana masters from the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, headed by Ms Sanae Maeda, demonstrated how natural objects can be combined with flowers, leaves and branches to create works of art. “The Sogetsu School of Ikebana was founded by Sofu Teshigahara in 1927 and is arguably one of most famous Ikebana schools in Japan.”
He says that the artistic skills of the masters have resulted in Ikebana being viewed as a form of organic sculpture rather than mere flower arranging. “Ikebana arrangements can range from minimalistic compositions through to highly elaborate works of art.
“Unlike the more casual Western flower arrangements, Ikebana pays careful attention to colour, line and form, often incorporating the symbolic meanings associated with the various plants and flowers.
“While some arrangements may be difficult to achieve, the Sogetsu School believes anyone can practice Ikebana. Not only is it satisfying to create a beautiful flower arrangement, it is also a great way to practice mindfulness,” adds Sawada.
Ikebana also offers an opportunity to meditate on nature’s unique gifts to humanity as well as the perfection of creation. Respect for age is innate to this art form and even dried and withered material occupies pride of place in some arrangements, highlighting their grace and beauty.
Ikebana is quite different from the work being done by local florists. It’s a journey that leads to inner stillness, transcending the sensory beauty of the flowers themselves. The practice of Ikebana is said to help eliminate harmful thoughts, create a more graceful state of mind, facilitate awareness of one’s connection to all living and non-living things, and bring the practitioner closer to the Divine. The practice of Ikebana is said to even help those who practice it live a longer life.
The events were attended by 40 people who got to see the masters at work and try their hand at arranging.
One of the participants, Catriona Botha, said she this was her first Ikebana experience and she will definitely continue practising the art. “I’m so excited to practice some of the skills that I have learnt.”
Embassy of Japan in South Africa
1 Sirius Road
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