Ikebana and Ikenobo
Ikebana is the Japanese traditional art of flower arranging, and a cornerstone of Japanese culture. The word is composed of two parts: ike (arrange; enhance), and hana (flower; plant). Ikebana seeks to highlight the essence of plant materials, and thus portray the natural world. It originated as the practice of creating temple offerings in fifteenth century Japan. As these offerings became more stylized, a set of rules emerged to govern their composition, and the Ikenobo school emerged centered on the Rokkakudo Temple in Kyoto.
Ikenobo remains headquartered at the Temple more than 550 years later, with the headmaster serving as head priest. The incumbent, Sen'ei Ikenobo, is the 45th member of the same family to hold the post, and carries on the tradition of daily floral offerings in the temple. Over that time, Ikenobo has expanded its stylistic range from creating floral offerings for Buddhist temples to designing elaborate arrangements for the nobility and, more recently, to smaller creations for contemporary households and public spaces. Along with the newer schools it has engendered, Ikenobo continues to evolve in response to societal needs, new forms of architecture, outside cultural influences and the availability of new species from outside Japan.
A more detailed history of Ikebana and Ikenobo can be found at the School’s website.