The Japanese art of formal flower arrangement with special regard shown to balance, harmony, and form. Ikebana ( arranged flower ) is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, also known as kado ( the "way of flowers").
In contrast to the massing of blooms typical of flower arrangement in western countries, Japanese flower arrangement is based on the line of twigs and/or leaves, filled in with a small number of blooms. The container is also a key element of the composition. The structure of a Japanese flower arrangement is based on a scalene triangle delineated by three main points, usually twigs, considered in some schools to symbolize heaven, earth, and man and in others sun, moon and earth.
Ikebana, one of the traditional arts of Japan, has been practiced for more than 600 years. It developed from the Buddhist ritual of offering flowers to the spirits of the dead. By the middle of the fifteenth century, with the emergence of the first classical styles, Ikebana achieved the status of an art form independent of its religious origins, though it continued to retain strong symbolic and philosophical overtones. The first teachers and students were priests and members of the nobility. However, as time passed, many different schools arose, styles changed, and Ikebana came to be practiced at all levels of Japanese society.
According to Mandarax, the most beautiful flower arrangements have one, two, or at the most three, elements. In arrangements of three elements, all three might be the same, or two of the three might be the same, but all three should never be different. Ikebana is said to be as easily codified as the practice of modern medicine.