Nihon no Hana

The second exhibit of the Museum of Floral Culture is called "The World of Floral Culture". This takes the visitors on a magic carpet ride to the beautiful world of floral cultures. Important floral cultures of different nations flourishing in different parts of Asia _ China, Japan, Cambodia, Bali, Tibet, Laos and India _ are celebrated and put into delightful displays in the exhibition.

In the Japanese section, the show does not only exhibit the hand-written ancient Japanese scroll called "The Secret Book of Ikenobo Shoka Ikebana", dating back to 1756, it also exhibits two main characteristics of Japanese floral art. They are Tatehana, or standing flower arrangements, and Chabana, or flowers for the tea ceremony. Inspired by Tatehana, I create today's simple floral display with the help of a piece of Kenzan which is a specific device used in the Japanese art of flower-arranging that consists of a heavy lead plate with erect brass needles where the stems of plants and flowers are fixed.

I call today's floral display "Nihon no Hana", which can literally be translated as "Flowers of Japan." I use a handmade ceramic container as my flower vessel. Plant materials are the top part of the stalk of a sugarcane plant, fern foliage and a blossom of hibiscus. All plant and floral materials are found in the museum's garden.

To begin, I simply place the Kenzan in the centre of the ceramic container. Then I pour water into the container until the surface of the water more or less covers the Kenzan.

After that, I continue to fix the first stalk of the sugarcane plant on to the centre of the Kenzan. The second stalk is then fixed behind the first stalk but a little to the right. Now I proceed with the first foliage of the fern. I fix it in front of the first stalk of the sugarcane plant in a position slightly to the left.

The second foliage of the fern is then fixed to the right of the first stalk of the sugarcane plant. I then place the final material, the hibiscus blossom in front of the first stalk of the sugarcane plant.

And there we have it, a simple floral composition that evokes a delightful image of Nihon no Hana.

STEP-BY-STEP

1. Place the Kenzan in the centre of the ceramic container.

2. Pour water into the container until it more or less covers the Kenzan.

3. Fix the first stalk of the sugarcane plant to the centre of the Kenzan.

4. Fix the second stalk of the sugarcane plant behind the first stalk but a little to the right.

5. Fix the first foliage of the fern in front of the first stalk of the sugarcane plant in a position slightly to the left.

6. Fix the second foliage of the fern to the right of the first stalk of the sugarcane plant.

7. Place the hibiscus blossom in front of the first stalk of the sugarcane plant.

TIPS

1. The bottom of the ceramic container needs to be flat so the Kenzan can sit firmly.

2. The size of the Kenzan is determined by the mass and weight of all the plant and floral materials combined.

3. When the stem is fixed on to the Kenzan, make sure that the face of the hibiscus blossom is turned toward the person who views the composition.

Sakul Intakul is an internationally renowned Thai floral artist whose portfolio includes commissions for HM the Queen and conceptual designs for Bvlgari Hotels and Resorts in Bali. He can be reached at sakulintakul@yahoo.com or by visiting www.sakulintakul.com. Enter his wonderful world of flowers at www.facebook.com/fansofsakulintakul.

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