Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement according to the rules and principles evolved over its long history. The history of the Ikenobo School goes back to the origins of ikebana itself, although other schools have branched off from it. Over the centuries, many different styles of Ikenobo ikebana have emerged, a creative process which continues to this day. The headquarters of Ikenobo remains at the place of its foundation, Rokkakudo Temple in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.

"Ikenobo" means "the priest by the pond", referring to Ono-no-Imoko, a Japanese priest who visited China in 607 CE, at a time when Buddhism and its associated arts, including Ikebana, were being transmitted from China to Japan. On his return to Rokkakudo, Ono lived by a pond in the temple grounds.

The fundamental spirit of the Ikenobo School is based on the words of Shotoku Taishi (Prince Regent, 574-622): "Harmony is the most precious thing". Harmony (Japanese wa) means that those with different personalities become good friends and establish a harmonious relationship.

The earliest style is called Tatehana, one of three offerings to the Buddha, (together with candles and incense).

In the early 1500s Ikenobo ikebana received a fresh stimulus through the master Ikenobo Senno, who created a style which was not merely decorative but expressed the ever-changing beauty of nature and related it to human life.

Each age has brought new challenges for Ikebana to express the spirit of the time. Today's styles include Rikka and Shoka and the especially modem Free Style. In 1977 the present (45th) Headmaster Ikenobo Sen'ei created the new style Shoka Shimputai, and in 1999 the new style Rikka Shimputai.


Latest revision 28.01.03