Ohara school of Ikebana was started earlier than So-Getsu school. Unshin Ohara (1861-1916), the founder of the Ohara School of Ikebana, was born in Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture. He slowly adapted the western flowers that made its way into the Japanese markets into his arrangements thus inventing Moribana in 1900. Moribana released flower arrangements from its classical bondage and offered the arranger more flexibility and scope for individual expression.
He also introduced landscape arrangement in which flowers are arranged on a flat surface. Unshin’s aim was to recreate the natural scenery by arranging flowers and foliage in containers to adorn corners and tabletops at home.
The tradition of innovation was carried on by his son Koun (1880-1938) who abandoned the old system of treating the art as a secret to be handed down from father to son and standardized teaching principles to make them available to everyone. Third Headmaster Houn Ohara (1908-1995) succeeded his father Koun in 1938.
Picture1 – Huon Ohara
In addition to Moribana, the other forms of Ikebana of the Ohara School include Hana-Isho, Heika, and Hanamai. The canons of Japanese art in flower arrangement enjoin the floral artist to capture the living movement of plant life – to give it beauty, balance, depth and rhythm.
In this style of ikebana the materials are arranged on low flat containers with a wide surface area of water. Moribana is of two types –
The Color Scheme Moribana, which expresses beauty of color by using contrasting materials of different color and shapes. An example of this type is an arrangement using dry fruit and flowers arranged for the sideboard in a dining room – uses Pine Cones, Dry Leaves, Fresh Flowers and Onion.
Picture2 – Autumn Tray
The Landscape Moribana, where natural scenery is represented in containers using materials as realistic to nature as possible. The landscape Moribana is further divided into three views: Far, Middle and Near. In the arrangement below driftwood represents the hills, Cyprus branches gives the illusion of a thick forest and Madagascan Periwinkle branches adds color and represents the ground flora of the forest.
Picture3 – Cyprus Woods
Each of the above two types of Moribana can be arranged in three different styles, they are:
- The Upright Style
- The Slanting Style
- The Water-Reflecting Style
Arrangements need planning. Once this is done, very little time is needed for actual work. Dry twigs, leaves and any variety of flowers are arranged in asymmetrical lines, with a special effort to correlate the lines, shapes and colors of the materials used. Flower arrangements are not only a means to beautify the home but more important, a channel for creative expression.
The fifth Master Hiroki Ohara leads the Ohara School now. The school has more than one million students/members spread all over the world.