Saturday, July 19, 2008

A winning combination

The commanding height of bamboo stalk radiates strength while chrysanthemums spread grace, writes Hema Vijay

The Hindu : Property Plus Chennai : A winning combination

Even traditional art forms can accommodate cultural confluences. In any case, art is never the exclusive prerogative of a culture. Elucidating this theory is this thoughtful ikebana arrangement by Sogetsu Ikebana teacher Malathi Pandurang.

At first glance, the striking bamboo stalk that towers over the bunch of chrysanthemums set in an antiquarian brass urli celebrates the vividness of nature. “In ikebana, leaves and flowers go together. They complement each other and give an enriched look”, Ms. Malathi says.

Water has meaning
Explore further. The brass urli resonates with Indian ethos. While today, the urli has come to be used as a decorative piece, Indians had been storing water in it for centuries. Malathi has filled the flat urli with water, and remember, water holds a lot of meaning in ikebana.

Malathi has used a miniature garden bamboo here to represent the Japanese bamboo. The Japanese bamboo grows to spectacular heights, nourished by the rich volcanic soil in Japan, and is a wonderful specimen of Japanese flora. Perhaps, it is because of this that the bamboo remains a traditional and sacred material in ikebana. Chrysanthemum also happens to be Japan’s national flower. The accommodation of the bamboo stalk and chrysanthemum flowers in the brass urli spells out the fusion of Japanese and Indian ethos, set in the semantics of ikebana.

At another level, the arrangement symbolises perfection in character. The commanding height of the bamboo stalk radiates a sense of strength, while the chrysanthemums reach out spreading an aura of grace and gentleness. Together, it does make for a winning combination.

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