Ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement, is both an ancient and modern art. In basic form, an ikebana arrangement follows a fixed pattern: a triangle of three points representing heaven, earth, and man. Emphasis is placed on linear perfection, color harmony, space, and form. An ikebana usually contains the foliage and flowers of the current season, and all are used in their natural state except for the deft “cut” of the arranger’s clippers which perfects the line of a branch or the shape of a bud.
What distinguishes ikebana from other approaches to flower arrangement are its use of asymmetry and “empty” space as essential features of the composition. A sense of harmony among the materials, container, and setting is also crucial. Ikebana shares these aesthetic characteristics with traditional Japanese paintings, gardens, architecture, and design.