Two weeks ago I attended a lecture at Monash University given by Dr Osamu Inoue, an academic from the Kyoto University of Art and Design. The event was organised by Dr Shoso Shimbo whose student Angeline Lo made the welcoming flower arrangement below.
Dr Inoue spoke about the historical development of Ikebana, tracing the evolution of rikka from both Shinto and Buddhist aesthetics and practises. He explained that rikka developed as a highly structured formal style used in ritual and religious contexts and that nageire developed as 'free' or 'casual' style.
I was interested that he described seika as an intermediate style, that grew out of both the rikka and nageire styles, and that it was more suited to domestic environments. Examples of rikka and seika have been included in the Ikebana International Melbourne annual exhibitions of the last two years that I have curated.
This rikka was made by Yukako Braun of the Ikenobo school...
...and this seika by Pascale Tremblay of the Shogetsudokoryu school both in the 2015 exibition.
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A few weeks ago we had a visit at home from Jason Smith, the Director of the Geelong Art Gallery. In honour of the occasion I made this contemporary ikebana arrangement which has some qualities of formality, being upright and with the leaves facing forward rather than naturalistically arranged.
This arrangement fits the Sogetsu curriculum exercise of 'Showing lines at the base'. I have always thought this particular exercise in the curriculum owes something to the requirement in rikka and seika to have all the materials arising in one column from the vessel.
The strelitzia leaves were given to me by my student Val, and the flowers are the first of this season from our garden.
Greetings from Christopher
27th November 2016