This style was introduced by Unshin Ohara around 1890 after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Moribana is not only an expression of Unshin Ohara’s creative departure from Ikenobo, but was also a strong sign of the Western influence in Japan. The arranged flowers may be placed in Western-style rooms and entranceways, not just in the tokonoma alcove found in traditional Japanese-style rooms. While distinctly a hallmark of the Ohara school, moribana has become one of the classic forms learned and created by Ikebana practitioners regardless of school or style affiliation.
Moribana uses one or more clusters of arrangements in kenzan, a holder with many sharp points into which flowers are inserted, or shippo that has holes, to replicate how water plants grow and how creatures move around in natural ponds. The main feature of moribana is the broad expanse of natural-looking shapes and a mound of beautiful flowers. Choice of materials and how much water shows in front, side, or back reflects the passing of the season. For example, more water is placed to the front during Spring and Summer.
A proper Moribana design uses a flat, shallow container, sometimes referred to as suiban, which allows for the spreading of floral and line materials sideways and away from the earlier classic vertical lines of the Rikka, Shoka, Oseika, and even Nageire.
There are different types of moribana depending on the length and angle of the primary, secondary, and ornamental stems. The upright style is the most common; it exudes a feeling of stability and gravity. In this style, the primary stem is about as long as the diameter and depth of the container combined, with the secondary stem being around two-thirds and the ornamental stem about half the length of the primary branch.
The primary stem is placed vertically, while the secondary stem is tilted 45 degrees and scattered over a 30-degree area to the front and left. The ornamental stem is tilted 60 degrees and placed across a 45-degree area to the front and right. Seen from above, the three stems form a right triangle. Flowers are placed inside this triangle to fill out the shape.
Other styles can be the slanting and the water-reflecting style.
Small pebbles may be used to cover the bottom of the container and create a more natural look of the arrangement.
- "Ikebana Moribana".
- "Ohara School of Ikebana".
- Saito, M. & Furuya, S. (2015). Title: Form structure of Ikebana. Retrieved from http://www.idemployee.id.tue.nl/g.w.m.rauterberg/conferences/CD_doNotOpen/ADC/final_paper/587.pdf
Media related to Moribana at Wikimedia Commons