Oshibana: the Japanese Floristic Art

Oshibana is the ancient Japanese art of making pictures using natural materials such as dried leaves, feathers and dried flower petals. Several ages ago this art was considered to be the exclusive one and only the Japanese warriors called samurais were allowed to occupy themselves with that craft. Creating pictures using dried plants was supposed to help the ancient warriors to reach soul harmony and understand the wisdom of nature. The manuscripts of ancient Egypt and Judea also mention this craft.

Oshibana was acknowledged as the fine art in Korea, Thailand, Japan and China. Later during the period of colonization the Englishmen also paid their attention to the refined beauty of these pictures and the trend to “paint” with dried flowers gradually became popular in Europe. The greatest mastership in this art was reached by the Japanese. Along with calligraphy, fencing and meditation practice oshibana was an obligatory subject in the education of samurais.

Samurais were to understand the way of the warrior and oshibana was the part of this way as it developed the ability to concentrate, patience, stamina and persistence in achieving the goals set. At the present time the Japanese have invented the special technique that prevents oshibana pictures from the negative influence of the environment such as color fading and getting shrunk. They create vacuum in the space between the frame glass and the picture itself. This vacuum allows the dried plants to retain their properties.

This art is also the means of self-expression. We show our fantasies, thoughts and emotional state with the help of this picture. Our body tunes into calm and meditative atmosphere that is necessary to create a good oshibana. The people who make oshibana pictures usually know a lot about the peculiarities of plants. The leaves and petals used for oshibana should retain their natural look and make a single whole.

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