Ikebana is often called the “Japanese art of flower arranging”, but is much more than simply putting flowers in a vase. It is creative expression within certain rules of construction using living plant materials. Any plant material may be used as well as flowers.
Characteristics that distinguish Ikebana from “western flower arrangements” are asymmetrical form, the use of empty space as an essential feature of the composition and a sense of harmony among the materials, the container and the setting. Traditional Japanese paintings, architecture, gardens and design share these characteristics.
In common with other art forms, it is necessary to master certain fundamental techniques before proceeding to free creation in Ikebana.