Friday, 25 September 2009

Free style with Bittersweet vine

Arrangement with my teacher's container
Material. 2 aspidistra leaves, 2 cosmos flowers and 2 branches of bittersweet vine*

My ikebana lesson this Friday was after a busy week including a long day in Tokyo on Thursday. I heard a lecture entitled “From the waters of the mountain to landscape” by Mr Augustin Berque who received the Fukuoka prize of 2009. He explained the word Shanshui, as it is pronounced in Chinese, in Japanese it is pronounced Sansui, which is a combination of two Chinese character meaning Mountain and water and was first used as a combination on the 3 day of the 3rd month in the year 353 in the 40 poems written in the Orchid Pavilion.

This talk dealt with the beginning of appreciating landscape and how this has affected our way of living now.

At the moment I am reading the book written by Ken Follet “The Pillars of the Earth”. In the past living in a city is where civilised people lived with a wall surrounding their city. Outside were the outlaws.

Once landscape was appreciated houses, castles and estates were built with a “view” or surrounded by landscape gardens to improve the view. Landscape ikebana is one step further by bringing the view into the house or “tokonoma”, the special alcove in a Japanese house where one displays objects of art and flower arrangements.

Back to my lesson, my teacher had a choice for us of either doing an arrangement in a basket with autumn flowers and plants, a rimpa arrangement or a free style.

I usually would have opted for one of the first two, but wanted to relax so I did the free style.

At home I used another container, a present from Mrs.K, Professor K’s wife.

Same material in a different vase, at home.

Nowadays we are free to live where we like. We can live in the suburb to enjoy the landscape. In the lecture the role of the use of the car to seek the landscape and thereby unwittingly destroying it was an interesting point.


Side view

* Bittersweet vine, Ilex, is not popular as it can destroy trees.

Are we the same as bittersweet vine ?


References: Orchid Pavilion

Mr. Augustin Berque:


  1. I always learn something from your posting. Unfortunately that we act like bittersweet vine, the way we "appreciate" nature, which destroys nature.

    I never knew bittersweet destroy trees. I never see the whole plant before, I like it a lot and only got chance to arrange it once or twice.

  2. For Mac users, use Safari, log in, then post. This is the only way that worked for me.