Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Sogetsu School of Ikebana

The Sogetsu School of Ikebana shaped Baiko's artistic style. The most avant-garde of the Japanese Ikebana schools was started in 1927 as an answer to one man's intense desire to make Ikebana a vehicle for personal artistic expression. That man was the late Sofu Teshigahara (1900-1977), the first Iemoto, or grand master, of the Sogetsu School and he truly revolutionized the world of Japanese flower arranging.

Teshigahara considered Ikebana to be much more than flower arranging. He believed that Ikebana is Art. He said, "the spirit under which the Sogetsu School was born was to create Ikebana that matches actual life and to create something that deserves the name art." He feared that traditional Ikebana would die out unless it adapted to modern times. To survive, he said, "Ikebana has to be always fresh, vital and dynamic."

Here are some quotes from Teshigahara's diary, Kadensho, The Book of Flowers:

Ikebana is born from the encounter of nature and humans; it is the coming together of nature and human life....a clear example of perfect harmony between man and nature....

Ikebana can be done anywhere by anyone. There are no national or ethnic boundaries. Like flowing water or drifting clouds, Ikebana spreads throughout the world....

Just as musicians express themselves through the language of music, Ikebana artists must use the language of flowers....

Ikebana will fail if its ultimate goal is the imitation of nature---even if the imitation is more or less perfect. One cannot just take a piece of it and try to recreate it. One takes a piece of nature and adds something that was not there. This is what creation in Ikebana means.

In Ikebana, the flowers are imbued with a human meaning. They are no longer the flowers of the meadow or the flower shop...the result is an expression of the Ikebana artist.

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