A Guide to Ikebana Vases

A Guide to Ikebana Vases

When we’re looking around our homes, we’re thinking of all the things we could do to add a little life into a space we spend so much of our time. As life goes through its moments of intense energy and deep lulls, we want something that relaxes and centers us while providing light and color. This is where the Japanese art of Ikebana comes into your life.

What is Ikebana?
Ikebana is a type of flower arrangement that originated and remains traditional in Japan. The concept and art of Ikebana require you to place a scarce variety of blooms in a vase. You’re not placing a whole bouquet; you’re going for a minimalist approach intended to highlight and showcase the beauty of the lucky blossoms that were ultimately chosen. With Ikebana, you’re closer to nature and more open to the idea of inner peace in all its fleeting wonder.

Types of Ikebana
Even though it only centers around flower arrangements, Ikebana is just any old process of arranging flowers in a vase. It’s actually far more complex than that. I’d go as far as to say it’s an art form. Ikebana requires you to collect various aspects of nature, from the flowers to the foliage, as all will be used in the arrangement. With so many different styles of Ikebana, you’ll need to choose an Ikebana Vase that suits the needs of that particular arrangement style.

Here are some of the styles of Ikebana:
Rikka is one of Ikebana’s first styles and aimed to use the flower to embody and expand on perceptions of the cosmos. Rikka has nine key positions in terms of its composition and was developed by Buddist monks. The monk’s teachings were infused into the arrangement of the followers.

The nine positions of Rikka 
Shin, which means spiritual mountain
Uke, which means receiving
Hikae, which means waiting
Sho shin, which means waterfall
Soe, which means supporting branch
Nagashi, which means stream
Mikoshi, which means overlook
Do, which means body
Mae Oki, which means front body

Seika is the more carefree version of Ikebana, along with Nageiri. Seika translates to fresh-living flowers and makes use of the shin, soe, and uke positions to create unequal triangles. Seika, like Nageire, focuses on zen over a deeper spiritual connection as Rikka does.
Nageire is similar to Seika in that it’s a lot less loose with the rules than Rikka. Considering Nageire translates to thrown in, it shouldn’t be too surprising that a finished Nagerire arrangement looks like two worlds colliding visually in the confines of a vase. The type of vase usually used is a Bouquet, Bottle, or cylinder. A minimalist approach to Nageire works well with a single stem vase where you place a flower and various other foliage to the arrangement.
Moribana, as an Ikebana style, is to create three-dimensional sculptures using natural living plants. These particular types of flower arrangements often reside in bigger floor vases that can give it a sense of opulence and importance.

Before we get to the best vase for Ikebana, I want to mention techniques you’ll need to be aware of for Ikebana.

Kenzan’s are brass cast needles on a base made of lead where you’ll insert and stabilize the branches or stems of your Ikebana flowers. Kenzan can also be referred to as a pin frog and usually is made using brass but can be plastic, steel, and various other materials. You can use scissors to create a sharply bent angle.

Wire Supports
If your flower stems are hollow, then you can insert a thin wire to straighten and strengthen the flower.

A Few Great Vases for Ikebana
Let’s talk about some of the Ikebana vases that I believe are great if you’re looking to cultivate your zen and your green thumb.

PuTwo Vases
If you want to infuse your Ikebana with a modern touch, then the PuTwo Vases might be perfect for you! Coming in a set of two, these clear cylindrical vases are held in a rose gold frame and are perfectly sized for you to enjoy the Seika and Nageire style of Ikebana. It’s one of the best options for a single stem vase. The great thing about glass Ikebana vases is that the flowers actually last longer as the water doesn’t react with the metal. Downside? Opaque appearances aren’t always beneficial in the art of Ikebana which focuses on a display that’s beautiful while hiding what facilitates the flower arrangements.

Shigaraki Pottery Japanese Flower Vase
Made in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, this stunning vase will add even more character to a work of Ikebana excellence. The ceramic vase is unique in design designed explicitly for Ikebana by one of only six remaining ancient kilns of Japan. It’s durable pottery that will compliment any space. Thanks to its grey textured color, you’ll be able to draw even more attention to the colors of your Ikebana flowers, foliage, and other natural items.

Georgetown Round Ikebana Vase
A Georgetown round vase is a great Ikebana vase for beginners to flex their abilities and grow in the art of Ikebana. This small vase has a pin frog inside and is ideal for a more simple Ikebana. Some people have used it successfully for Rikka, but this is a challenge due to its size.

Ceramic Flower Vases
Set a stunning set of three ceramic flower vases will definitely keep you busy as you explore different styles of Ikebana and experiment with various combinations. You can attempt almost any type of Ikebana with one of these vases. They have a beautiful moody blue design with golden patterns on them, which come across as foliage which adds to the overall aesthetic of Ikebana.

Ikebana can be an enriching hobby. If you’re looking for peace from the world and want to rediscover your relationship with nature. In that case, you should consider taking up this ancient Japanese art form and test your artistic abilities to create stunning flower arrangements. Not only will your home feature some vibrant natural life, but you’ll be as zen as a Buddhist arranging their Rikka Ikebana.

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