The main characteristics of
ikebana are the
- Not just decoration - Ikebana is an art and a
discipline leading to self-awareness.
- Asymmetric balance - Ikebana uses asymmetric balance,
a balance of 30/70; as opposed to the 50/50 balance of mainstream Western
- In and Yo - It also uses the principle of in and yo
(ying and yang), which recognises opposites as balancing and completing each
other; thus day balances and completes night; male, female; space, mass; and
- Ephemerality - Ikebana acknowledges and
embodies ephemerality, the transience of all things. An arrangement
should always include a bud, holding promise of the future, and perhaps a
damaged or fading leaf to remind us of the past.
- Space forms an integral part of an arrangement.
This space is not mere emptiness but a dynamic element in the composition.
- Upward movement - The material is arranged to follow
the line of growth, moving upward toward the sun.
- Three-dimensionally - Arrangements are
three-dimensional. The material reaches forward toward the viewer,
who is the focal point of the arrangement.
- Understatement - By taking away, for instance,
trimming side branches and leaves to reveal line, or selecting only a few
flowers - along the lines of the 'less is more' principle; rather than
adding more material - a stronger and more powerful effect is achieved.