Ikebana nirvana – Japan floral arts


Practising the art of Ikeba

Practising the art of Ikebana – vintage photo from Japan


 I like the Zen aesthetic of Ikebana flower arrangements where space is as important as the detail. The graceful, clean lines are given room to express their elegance and the favoured asymmetrical forms reinforce the dynamic. Silence was traditionally a prerequisite for practising Ikebana and the Zen masters valued it as a contemplative art form. The art of Ikebna has been taught for over 450 years.  Instead of an array of colourful flower petals, Ikebana often highlights only two or three flowers combined with other parts of the plant, i.e. stems, branches and leaves, to define shape, line and form. The vessel containing the arrangement are also given much consideration.

Ikebana History

From pre-Buddhist times, the Japanese used evergreen trees and flowers to invoke nature gods and some claim this practice is at the heart of secular Ikebana. Japan’s deep connection with nature in the form of flowers, wild plants and trees is apparent even in the earliest of Japanese writings.
Ikebana, first appeared in the Muromachi Period (from the late 14th century to the mid 16th century). It was during this period that much of what was to become viewed as traditional Japanese art and its canon of beauty was established. The Shoin-style of residential architecture, the tea ceremony, Ikebana, noh plays,  renga verse and garden design, all have their beginnings in the Muromachi period. Ikebana was used in the Buddhist temples for altar decorations and worship. The translation of Ikebana is ” priest of the lake ” from  a Buddhist priest who lived next to a lake and was sought out for his skills in flower arrangement  This was at the the Rokkakudo Temple, official name is Shiun-ji Purple Cloud Temple in Kyoto.


The Rokkakudo temple was erected in 587 by Prince Shotoku. It is said that Prince Shotoku was searching for materials to build the Shitenno Temple. During his search, one day he went to bathe in a pond, where he hung a Buddhist amulet over a nearby tree. After his bath, he tried to remove the amulet, but he was unable to do so. That same night, the Prince saw the Buddha in his dream. The Buddha instructed him to erect a temple near the pond at the cedar tree under a purple cloud. From that cedar wood Rokkakudo temple was built to house a Kannon (Quan-Yin) Goddess statue. ( via The Art Of Ikabena )


 Ikabana display at a Japanese tea ceremony

From the Azuchi Momoyama period through to the Edo period, Ikebana, seen as a living art form, went through several transitions. The Doboshu style concentrated on flower arrangements based on a standing branch in the centre of the vase which was called tatebana. The samurai class and aristocracy used Ikebana with their detailed form of tea ceremony. In the Edo period, Ikebana underwent one of its most serious shifts. The Ikenobo style of tatebana, influenced by Senno Rikkyu’s chabana (simplified flower arrangements for tea rooms) spread from the samurai warrior class to townsman or urban merchant culture.The simplicity of the Chabana in turn helped create the Nageire or “thrown-in” style. The ‘non structured’  Nagaire style led to the Shoka style, which focused on the uniqueness of the plant,  and also the Jiyūka style – a free creative design not confined to flowers as all materials could be used.
With the Meiji period modernization, Ikebana experienced an important adaption. The Meiji government committed itself to educating women and decided that Ikabana art should be defined as training women to be “good wives and wise mothers”. The government literally decreed that, as part of this character formation, Ikebana, once a male art form, was now a standard part of women’s education. This ensured the popularity of the art form into modern times.


Atsushi is the first artist I’m featuring and I feel his arrangements really capture the spirit of Ikebana, nicely complimented by his photography.


Box horsetail, shepherd's purse - Ikebana by Atsushi

Box horsetail, shepherd’s purse Ikebana – Atsushi, Japan




Japan Ikebana by Atsushi

Japan Ikebana by Atsushi




Companion - Atsushi

‘Companion’ – Atsushi




Ikebana by Atsushi

Ikebana by Atsushi





Hitorishizuka Atshushi

Hitorishizuka – Atsushi





Ichihana one leaf by Atsushi

‘Early Spring’ by Atsushi




I wait for the rain

‘I wait for the rain’ – Atsushi




Messenger - Atsushi

‘Messenger’ – Atsushi




Moderation is best - Atsushi

‘Moderation is best’ – Atsushi




Muscari---grape hyacinth by Atsushi

Muscari—grape hyacinth by Atsushi






No title – Atsushi





‘Pioneer’ – Camellia japonica, Spiraea




Red spider lily

Red spider lily Ikebana by Atsushi




‘Spring Ephemeral’ – Atsushi

Southeast Asia Earthenware Bowl





‘Incense’ – Tsukubai of Awakoganegiku  with Shigaraki vase – Atsushi




Until the equinox - Ashushi-ikebana

‘Until the equinox’ – Atsushi, Japan





Goldenrod flower with a ritual implement made of copper  – Atsushi





 Ikebana by Atsushi – Virginia willow, grass-of-Parnassus




Lotus by Atsushi

‘Lotus’ by Atsushi

The fruit of lotus and magnolia, in a miso pot from the Cham in Vietnam.






White campion Bana Matsumoto, Yamaji Roh little cuckoo





'63 Ikebana by Atsushi

’63 Ikebana by Atsushi




Amaryllidaceae---bracket fungus

‘Promise’  –  Amaryllidaceae—bracket fungus





Red fruit - Atsushi

‘Red fruit’ – Atsushi

website – Ichihana one leaf by Atsushi


Sofu Teshigahara and family :

Sofu Teshigahara was born in Osaka as the first son of the Ikebana artist Wafu Teshigahara. He broke away from his father because he questioned the traditional Ikebana of arranging flowers in a routine fashion. In 1927 he founded the famous Sogetsu school, which advocates Ikebana as art that respects the individuality of the person arranging the flowers. There are some rules, but no arbitrary dogmas, and those rules are always flexible.
The Sogetsu School aims to be alive, using plants and flowers to express vividly experiences of the present age. Below are some Ikabana art by Sofu, his son Hiroshi and Hiroshi’s daughter Akane. Some of Sofu’s modernist sculptures re included.


Opening installations-Hiroshi Teshigahara


Opening installations for the Exhibition 0f Hiroshi Teshigahara at the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama. (July 2007)







Sogetsu Exhibition “Red and Black” June 2009 (Shinjuku Takashimaya, Tokyo) The big arrangement used coloured driftwood as a framework, and was arranged with a soft line of coloured weeping willow, coloured box tree, smoke tree, and glory lily.





Sogetsu Exhibition,433x471


Sogetsu Exhibition, Shinjuku – 2005





The fruiting kaki branches are drastically trimmed to present the vigour of the lines. A sense of volume is created by the bright yellow color of the chrysanthemums in the center – Akane Teshigahara






Ikebana Japan


Commemorative Ceremony for the 20th Anniversary of the Enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor in November 2009 at the National Theatre, Tokyo.
These stage flowers were displayed to express the feeling of celebration with red and white moth orchid, camellia, Japanese hemlock, idesia, Citrus natsudaidai, baby’s breath and statice. Spilt bamboo added a sense of rhythm.

Akane Teshigahara





Akane Teshigahara -Ikabana


White lace flowers exude a light feeling while the cheerful colours of the poppy give an impression of joyful dancing. – Akane Teshigahara





Flowers Japanese Ikebana


 The glossy China root berries and the soft, brush-like fibers of achiote —By combining these materials both red but with different textures, an exquisite contrast is created.  – Akane Teshigahara





Japanese traditional floral arrangement


Large flowers of soft purple and white hydrangea are placed within free-flowing bottlebrush branches. 2010

Akane Teshigahara







Plenty of delicious-looking persimmons with volume are arranged in a vase with its distinct presence, combined with the beautiful autumn leaves of mountain ash and nerine.- Akane Teshigahara




Akane Teshigahara Ikebana

Akane Teshigahara Ikebna – Golden-apple, Red-hot-poker, Goldenrod
Ceramic vase by Hiroshi Teshigahara





Akane Teshigahara Ikebna floral art


 A strong vase was selected to express the buoyant movement of plants.Pine was combined with hydrangea that offers multiple expressions of colors, and lines – Akane Teshigahara





Old Tree Ikebana


Sofu Teshigahara exhibited an extra large-scale ikebana, Inochi (Life) in which he used veins of 1000 years old wisteria which weighed 3 tons.

Takashimaya Department store in Nihonbas, Japan




Akane Teshigahara Vinasu sculpture 1957 Bridgestone Museum


A ceramic sculpture by Sofu Teshigahara called  Vinasu (Venus)  exhibited at the World Modern Art Exhibition, at the Bridgestone Museum.


Sofu Teshigahara, 1951 Ikebana Japan

Two Birds – flamingo lily, dried statice, summer cypress, Oya stone

Sofu Teshigahara, 1951


Sofu Teshigahara – Piacenza SUPERGA 1963

Sofu Teshigahara Sculpture, Italy

Sofu Teshigahara – Piacenza SUPERGA 1963

(  Giorgio Piacenza Dassu  )

Sogetsu website 


Japanese folding screen and floral arrangement

Byobu & Ikebana; Japanese folding screen and Japanese flower arrangement.

( ConveyorBeltSushi – flickr )



Ikebana2 Mochimochi Land

Ikebana 2 – Mochimochi Land




Ikebana Attempt1 flowering gum

Orange flowering gumtree with gumnuts




Mid Century Ikebana – two branches of celastrus with an abstract sculptured ceramic vessel.

( nibsblog.wordpress.com )

Ikebabn Lightning Storm from sogetsud, Flickr

‘Lightning Storm’ from sogetsud, Flickr


Ikebana by Mario HIRAMA

Ikebana by Mario Hirama

Ikebana of-Soho Sensei

Ikebana of Soho Sensei

Junko's Ikebana class

Junko’s Ikebana class

Ikebana using dried material

Ikebana using dried material and a vintage modernist vase.

Ikebana using curved lines

Ikebana using curved lines

( sogetsudc on Flickr )





Ikebana with Bamboo, Camellia, Japanese-quince — Thai Mai Van





Summer solstice 2015 – Catherine White




Ikebana Ume Rain Atsushi

June 2009 – Atsushi





Jiyuka ikebana by Xenia Melkova

Ikebana Ikenobo Russia




Cours n°36-by opaline82 on Flickr - yellow flowers ikebana

Cours n°36

opaline82 – Flickr



Ikebana - Morikami-Museum-&-Japanese-Gardens

Ikebana in turquoise vase

Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens





White daisy, red berries and red autumn  leaves on a branch ikebana




Ikebana art

Stoneware vase – ‘Envelope’ – Alix Brodeur




Ikebana 'Leaping salmon' - Otomodachi - flickriver

 ‘Leaping salmon’ Ikebana – Otomodachi – flickriver




Ikebana Contemporary Shoka for fall- Thai Man Van




Kawase Toshiro ikebana display

Kawase Toshiro Ikebana





Ikebana with spherical vessel – Otomodachi flickriver




Ikebana – Corrie van der Meer Fischer ( sha attacking chi on left balanced with good yoi chi on the right)

Otomodachi – flickriver




Jiyuka-Maria-Maltseva freestyle ikebana

Jiyuka Ikebana – Maria Maltseva



 Ikebana art, Japanese flower arrangement, by Baiko - flickr

 Ikebana art, Japanese flower arrangement, by Baiko


Old Japanese  TANBA pottery flower vase from  KANJI MEIJI era.

KAWAI Gyokudo (1873-1957) Japanese art

A Japanese painting by KAWAI Gyokudo   (1873-1957)

Japanese photography-ENAMI - Man in Mist

ENAMI – Man in Mist

Elizabeth Sawyer - Stoneware Ikebana Container

Stoneware Ikebana Container  – Elizabeth Sawyer

ikebana-vase - Michael Hamlin Smith

Contemporary Ikebana Vase – Michael Hamlin Smith

See more Ikebana on this Veniceclayartists post – Contemplating Zen Floral Design’




  1. Posted January 31, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful post and exquisite examples of ikebana, thanks so much for all the effort which went into this post; I enjoyed it thoroughly.

  2. Smithd685
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    As soon as I found this internet site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  3. Princess
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful way to exhibit unique flower display, a fine and delicate form of appreciating flowers individually…. lovely

  4. Alex
    Posted April 29, 2017 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Extraordinary artform so beautifully presented! I learned and enjoyed this so very much. Thank you.

  5. Rassem
    Posted October 11, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    beauty is wonder of wonders.The amazing beauty of the flowers and the stands are beautiful.

  6. John
    Posted February 27, 2021 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I want to know,if I can buy some items. Like those presented. In. Your. Website.
    Thank you.

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