ike·​ba·​na | \ˌi-kā-ˈbä-nə, ˌi-ki-, ˌē-\

Definition of ikebana 

: the Japanese art of flower arranging that emphasizes form and balance

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Ikebana is a way of arranging flowers that was developed by the Japanese. It was introduced in Japan in the sixth century by Chinese Buddhist missionaries, who had formalized the ritual of offering flowers to Buddha. The art is based on the harmony of simple linear constructions and the appreciation of the subtle beauty of flowers and natural material, such as branches and stems. There are several major ikebana schools, with differing histories and theories of artistic style. In its highest form, this art form is spiritual and philosophical in nature, but in modern Japan, it is more often practiced as a sign of refinement by marriageable young women and older matrons.

Examples of ikebana in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Like all serious sushi shops, the décor is both minimalist and elegant (all the better to focus your attention on the fish) with blonde wood and beige walls, plus a tasteful ikebana flower arrangement in the corner. Melinda Joe, Condé Nast Traveler, "34 Best Restaurants in Tokyo," 2 Mar. 2018 Elsewhere, Boucheron designer Claire Choisne unveiled a number of necklaces, including ivy and ikebana in yellow gold with diamonds. Vogue, "From Ana Khouri to Tasaki, A Survey of Couture Week’s Coolest Jewels," 9 July 2018 The book was going to be about ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging that became an enormous part of Beverly’s life after her naval officer husband’s tour of duty in Japan. John Schwartz, New York Times, "Audiobooks for Those Long Summer Drives, Without the Kids," 28 May 2018 In ikebana, artists value the ideas of wabi-sabi which finds beauty in imperfection, asymmetry, and impermanence. Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY, "New York City blooms with its annual orchid show," 6 Apr. 2018 Give them a brilliant stage with a metal vase topper inspired by ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging that celebrates every stem. Martha Stewart, star-telegram, "It's spring, and the Easter decorating and baking ideas are flowering | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 22 Mar. 2018 The term, coined by the Cut's Stella Bugbee, is a nod to the Japanese flower arrangement form ikebana — a spare, naturalistic style that aims to situate the plants nearly seamlessly into their surroundings. Becca Endicott, ELLE Decor, "Freakebana Is The Wild New Floral Trend You Need To Know," 29 Dec. 2017 Brittany Asch, of Brrch florist, who helped compose the arrangements in these photos, also designs the dramatic ikebana-like installations found in the stores of cult style and beauty brands like Mansur Gavriel and Glossier. Brittany Asch, The Cut, "Exploring ‘Freakebana’, a New Style of Arranging Flowers," 12 Dec. 2017 While a subset of ikebana called morimono has long included the use of fruits and any part of the plant an artist likes, this new style deploys even more eccentric elements for maximum surprise. Brittany Asch, The Cut, "Exploring ‘Freakebana’, a New Style of Arranging Flowers," 12 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ikebana.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ikebana

1901, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ikebana

Japanese, from ikeru to keep alive, arrange + hana flower

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Last Updated

25 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for ikebana

The first known use of ikebana was in 1901

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ikebana

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ikebana

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