KATHMANDU: The first school of Ikebana, Ikenobo continues a tradition of creativity that began 500 years ago. This school of Ikebana is based at Choho-ji (Rokkaku-do) temple in Kyoto, Japan.

In Japanese, ike means ‘pond’ while the word bo suggests ‘a priest’s hut’. Combining these two words suggesting a priest’s hut next to a pond, the family who headed this school got the name Ikenobo. Generations of priests of this family were famous for their skill in flower arrangement.

Senki Ikenobo was known as an early master of Rikka style. This is a formal upright style with its roots in early religious floral offerings. However, later Rikka portrayed the beauty of a natural landscape.

In the late Muromachi period, Senno Ikenobo explained about the essence of Ikebana for the first time in a famous teaching manuscript Sennno Kuden.

Then in the early 17th century the dignity and character of the Rikka style was perfected by Senko Ikenobo I and Senko Ikenobo II.

It was early 1800 when Shoka style came to surface as Senjo Ikonobo got this style right. A simple graceful style Shoka talks about the essential character of a plant as it grows in response to the factors in its natural habitat. Masters like Senmyo and Sensho followed Senjo.

Each generation’s work reflected the artistic character of that time and thus further strengthened Ikebana’s position as an essential part of Japanese culture.

The headmaster at present, Senei Ikenobo belongs to the 45th generation. He believes that possibility of creating a new Ikebana depends on the desire to refine one’s own character, a spirit that has been passed down to the present generation as the essence of Ikebana itself.

Till today the headquarter of Ikebana stands next to Rokkaku-do Temple.