1933

A New Selection of Modern Flower Arrangements, 1933.

One day while rummaging through an assortment of old books, I found a historic relic of the Sogetsu school to much surprise. I would hate to brag, but I believe I have had much luck with older ikebana paraphernalia; I take it as a sign that I am on the right path. 

The book, along with two postcards from Lourdes tucked inside. 

The book, along with two postcards from Lourdes tucked inside. 

The book is "A New Selection of Modern Flower Arrangements", from 1933. The book inside has 60 illustrations of arrangements by Sogetsu-ryu headmaster and founder, Sofu Teshigahara. Each work is explained in a poetic rhythm by Mirei Shigemori, who reinvented Japanese landscaping in the 1930s. Some of his most famous examples are the gardens at Tofuku-ji (Kyoto, Japan) along with his own home tucked away in the city centre.

Part of the garden at the Shigemori residence in Kyoto, Japan. Taken November 2014.

Part of the garden at the Shigemori residence in Kyoto, Japan. Taken November 2014.

Naturally, I was entranced to encounter such a book. Teshigahara Sofu had only founded Sogetsu in 1927, so this book was published during the beginning of their (Teshigahara and Shigemori) arts progressing.  The book's illustrations are beautifully painted by Seikin Wasajiri. A preface by Shigemori concludes the book finished on 17 August 1933. 

Below are some photographs of a selection of the 60 arrangements, along with its text, translated. Feel free to click for a better look and information:
 

To us, in 2017, these arrangements by Sofu-sensei are more traditional and resembling of nature. All one has to do is look at what he was able to accomplish post-war in the 1950s and '60s. For the ikebanists of today, it is important to understand how progressive this ikebana was in 1933. Ikebana has no boundaries; so, where will it go in the future?