In this special salon we will learn the art and philosophy of Ikebana "living flowers" one of the Japanese arts of refinement, which dates back to 7th century Japan. Over Japanese tea, we will consider the history of this ancient art, the aesthetic rules it adheres to, as well as the theory and philosophical principles that are part of its tradition. We will discuss the philosophical and aesthetic questions it raises in a salon conversation and then practice it, creating a beautiful floral composition, according to its principles, for others to appreciate.
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And yet, were you to consider the philosophy at the core of ikebana, grounded as it is in Japan’s ancient polytheism and its Buddhist traditions, you might find something quite relevant to the times we live in: an art that can expand your appreciation of beauty. And who wouldn’t, in this age or any other, want to find beauty where you hadn’t seen it before?
According to one of Japan’s most influential modern ikebana practitioners, the reclusive 69-year-old artist Toshiro Kawase, that is precisely the point: to see that “the whole universe is contained within a single flower” — for one small thing to open our minds to so much more.
- An excerpt from The Rise of Modern Ikebana
Image Attribution: Torii Kiyonaga [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons