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What is ikebana?

Ikebana, or Japanese traditional flower arrangement, was first stylized in the Muromachi period (1333-1568).
Prior to that, people were in the habit of offering arranged flowrers to Buddha.The concept of ikebana, therefore, developed into one that expresses something Buddhistic or divine.
It also embraces harmony with nature, symbolized by three well-balanced basic sprays signifing ten (heaven / universe), jin (mankind) and chi (earth).
Since World War II, howevever, modern schools of ikebana such as the Sogetsu school, which uses materials other than flowers, have appeared in an attempt to present this traditional flower arrangement as a kind of formative art.
There are about 2,000 ikebana schools at present, including the Ikenobo school, Ohara school and Sogetsu school.