Forma, Vol. 16 (No. 3), pp. 273-278, 2001
Original Paper

Art of Dynamic Symmetry: Ikebana, Japanese Traditional Flower Arrangement

Marie Moriyama and Megumi Moriyama

Department of French Literature, Graduate School of Keio University, Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8345, Japan

(Received September 17, 2001; Accepted October 22, 2001)

Keywords: Dynamic Symmetry, Dissymmetry, Empty Center, Shintoism, Japanese Mythology

Abstract. IKEBANA, Flower Arrangement, is one of the highly appreciated, traditional arts of Japan. While Western-style flower arranging has retained its symmetrical shape, Ikebana acquired a new form that can be characterized by dissymmetry or dynamic symmetry. These two styles of flower arrangements are compared to clarify the philosophy and spirit that contributed to these art forms. In addition, the history and cultural background of Ikebana, its materials, the spirit and the religions that mould the dissymmetry are discussed. The non-symmetric style of Ikebana is considered to be the result of the peculiar commingled religious environment of Shinto and Buddhism found in Japan.

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