Hanakago, woven flower baskets used for ikebana, is the theme of this year’s Splendors of Ikebana, hosted by Ikebana International Honolulu Chapter 56 on Oct. 15 and 16. This popular event will be held at the Ala Moana Hotel Ilima Room.
Throughout its 50-year history, Ikebana International Honolulu Chapter 56 has adhered to its motto of spreading “Friendship Through Flowers.” From its inception, Chapter 56 has shared a mutual love of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, and Japanese culture through community service, educational activities and by organizing public floral exhibits.
This ancient art began over 600 years ago during the teaching of Buddhism. Originated by Buddhist priests, ikebana was initially practiced and developed among the nobility and families of the shogun. With time, the art form began to spread among samurai warriors who created arrangements prior to entering battle. Ikebana spread to people of various classes during the Edo period between 1600 and 1868.
Aspects present in ikebana are minimalism and asymmetry. Today, ikebanists from more than 60 countries belong to Ikebana International, which was founded in 1956 by Ellen Gordon Allen, a US general’s wife. Her desire was to unite and create worldwide friendship through flowers. Her friend, Pearl Jensen, founded Chapter 56 in 1961.
It is unclear how hanakago came to be. Some say they were first used in tea ceremony with the prevailing aesthetic derived from chabana practice and the 14th century influence of Chinese baskets. A legend describes how a Japanese noble riding in the country stopped at a humble farmhouse and asked for tea and a flower arrangement. The poor man took an ordinary basket, picked some wild flowers and placed it on the bare earth. It was simple, humble, yet beautiful.
Over 30 hanakago will be on display. Stop by and enjoy this ancient art. Admission is free.