This year the members of the Shi-en Ikebana & Floral art Society will hold their annual flower arrangements exhibition today, October 19, at the Hotel Lanka Oberoi from 10.00a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Proceeds from this exhibition will go towards purchasing equipment to be donated to the Children's Heart Project. There will be over 50 exhibits of Ikebana, local and western style arrangements. There will also be many sales tables selling artificial flowers, costume jewellery, floral containers etc. Demonstrations in the art of Ikebana and Western flower arranging will be held at 11.00a.m. and 5.00p.m.
The Shi-en Ikebana & Floral Society was formed in 1991 as the Shi-en Ikebana Club by the late Mrs. Kamala Pillai and her students. In 1993 the club changed to its present name to include all forms of floral art. There are about 60 members now and most of them, the experienced and the beginners will be participating. There will be many novel and creative arrangements at this exhibition.
This year will be the sixth show presented by the Society. Festival of Flowers will attempt to convey to the viewer how the art of flower arranging in the east and west has met and how similar are the free style in Ikebana and the free style in western arragements. There will ofcourse be the traiditional Ikebana and western arrangements. This exhibition will be opened by Madame Elizabeth Dahan, the French Ambassador to Sri Lanka.
East Meets West
If one cuts an assortment of flowers and leafy stems from the garden and put them into a water-fined jug or vase, one will have made a flower arrangement. Some of the plant material may be quite unsuitable and will quickly die, the colours may clash and the overall effect may be a mess, but it is an arrangement. Learning Ikebana or western flower arranging will help one to choose the right sort of flowers and foiiage and how to condition them before making an arrangement. In both Ikebana and western style arrangements, there are a number of basic rules and styles that one must learn to help in the creation of a floral arrangement.
Though it is diffcult to identify the true origin of Ikebana and Western style flower arranging, it is generally believed that Ikebana stems from the offering of flowers to the Buddha. At the beginning of the 6th century, when Buddhim wasbrought to Japan, the custom of dedicating flowers came with it. It was this custom which developed into the art of Ikebana. As Buddhism spread through the population, the simplified form of flower arrangement favoured for the temples became secularized. It came to be accepted as one way of adoring the interiors of ordinary houses. In the west too flower arranging can be traced to the offering of flowers to the Saints and flowers arranged on altars in the churches. In the Middle Ages there were many religious paintings depicting the offering of flowers to the Saints. In the church at Torgau there is a painting done in 1506 of an angel in the form of a child holding a small basket filled with red and white roses. So most forms of flower arranging can be traced back to a religious beginning.
In recent times, cultural exchanges between eastern and western countries has promoted the fusion of the different styles in flower arranging. There are so many different countries on this earth, with different races, different climates and customs. Flower and trees change too, as one moves from north to south, from temperate to tropical regions, but this is not a barrier for the different forms of flower arranging. One can arrange local flower materials in containers used in each particular area and so there are no restrictions in the art of flower arranging.
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