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Flower Power

Tue May 22, 2018 at 04:40 PM

Humanities 216 student with completed ikebana arrangementThis spring, the Humanities 216 class - Survey of Non-Western Culture - focused on traditional Asian arts and how they relate to various religions. Students studied India, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan during the course. During the Japanese unit, they learned about and practiced ikebana, which is the Zen art of flower arranging.

Course instructor, Pamyla Yates explained, “More than just a decorative past-time, the flower tradition began as a Buddhist practice and the arrangement replicates the balance between the tallest material, the sun or heaven; the flower, the human; and is grounded by the third material, or the earth.” She continued, “The practice is a meditation art, but the history and culture surrounding the practice point to Buddhism and Daoism and developed from similar traditions in Korea and China.”

In a traditional ikebana class, students would copy the arrangement of the “sensei” or teacher, but during the BRCC Humanities course, Yates and co-instructor Jessica Martinkosky, allowed their students to interpret and create their own arrangement along the guidelines of minimal materials and the basic design of the shin (heaven), soe (human) and tai (earth).

Humanities 216 class learned about ikebana, the Zen art of flower arranging

Humanities 216 class with completed flower arrangements