Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Search for the place of origin of ikenobo, Part 2

In the last post I wrote about finding in Kyoto Rokkakudo, the ancient temple that is considered the birthplace of ikenobo, the oldest style of ikebana. The photo to the left is of small statues near the temple. Of course I was drawn to them immediately. They are so appealing under their knitted caps. But I have also done some research in order to find out what these little figures represent. I don't think I understand well enough to explain their presence, but I hope some of my readers will know much more than I and can offer some comments that will help us all to comprehend better their meaning.

However, I do now know that the red color of their bibs is related to this: "According to Japanese folk belief, RED is the color for 'expelling demons and illness.'"( So the red color expresses the hope for recovery and protection from evil influences and sickness. 
While this has nothing to do with the history of ikebana (as far as I know), I found the presence of these well-dressed little statues near the Rokkakudo Temple an irresistible draw.

Another aspect of the temple's environment and one very directly associated with the history of ikebana is the pond pictured to the right. I certainly didn't expect to see a pond with swans gliding on it located between Rokkakudo Temple and the featureless skyscraper next to it. The building you can see in the background of the photo is the headquarters of the School of Ikenobo, and this little pond is said to be the source of its name. Ike means pond, and bo refers to a Buddhist priest's hut. Thus, ikenobo would mean a priest's hut next to a pond, apparently the place of origination of the floral art form first practiced here.

1 comment:

  1. A nice post! I didn't know the colour of red was a symbolism for removing ghosts and illnesses.

    By the way, I have my own blog which focuses on Asian culture and entertainment such as video games and I wonder if it is possible for you to view it and tell me what you think please: