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Ohara School

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Basic Forms

Basic Forms of Ikebana

      In the Ohara School, floral arrangements are divided into two major categories of Moribana and Heika (another name for the Nageire arrangements) based on the use of the materials and containers. First, whether it is Moribana or Heika can be quickly distinguished by the shape of the container used. Moribana uses flat containers with a large open water surface area, somewhat like plates or low flat bowls. Heika on the otherhand utilizes tall containers with smallish openings, thus shaped like deep vases.
      Another way of distinguishing the style is by the method the flowers are held in place. In Moribana, the flower stem ends are inserted into Kenzan spikes (pin holders) or into Shippo holders (partitioned holders), while in Heika these aids are not used but instead Tome-gi (braces or stays) short branches tied to the stems for the purpose of stabilizing the position is used or then again, the branches or stems may be bent for stability.
      Other factors dictate the choice of a Moribana or Heika arrangement is the occasion for the arrangement and the place where it will be put, but basically, it comes down to the floral materials one is using. One decides which style will better bring out the individual charm of the flower or better express its special characteristics.
      The first steps to be taken, the basic foundation for the arrangements is the various floral styles, which outline the basic requirements of the shape of the arrangement, how long the stems should be, and where to insert the flowers - the basic principles of obtaining the most pleasing effect by using each of the forms.
      Each floral style can be called a model. By studying the principles of each model, and repeatedly arranging this model, one will master that particular style. Especially, in an art like Ikebana where there is an infinite variety of materials, each having its own characteristics, constant practice is necessary to become aware of the many possible arrangements.

The classification chart of the basic forms of Ikebana:
  • Hanaisyou styles (design of flowers)
    • Elementary form styles
      • Tateru Katachi (standing style)
      • Katamukeru Katachi (incline style)
    • Expand form styles
      • Hiraku Katachi (open style)
      • Narabu katachi (one row style)
      • Mawaru Katachi (round style)
      • Yosooi Katachi
  • Moribana styles
    • Chokuritsukei (upright style)
    • Keisyakei (slanting style)
    • Kansuikei (applied of slanting style)
  • Heika styles
    • Chokuritsukei (upright style)
    • Keisyakei (slanting style)
    • Kasuikei (cascade style)
      After mastering the basic requirements of each of the above styles, then as the student advances, he must learn whether to emphasize the color, line or volume in the arrangement. These develop into further classifications such as:
  • Hanamai (dancing of flowers) Arrangement
  • Shikisai Sashibana (color scheme) Arrangements
    • Shikisai (color method)
    • Youshiki (traditional method)
  • Syakei (landscape) Arrangement
    • Sizen (realistic method)
    • Soushiki (traditional method)
  • Rimpa Arrangement
  • Bunjin (literati) Arrangement
  • Zoukei (plastic) Arrangement
      The various forms are mentioned here to acquaint students of the further achievements available to them as they advance.