Ikebana, the ancient art of arranging flowers, is deeply rooted in Buddhism and Japanese traditions. Over the centuries, it has developed as an art form of its own, gaining popularity and leading to the development of schools dedicated to teaching this art form. A few things distinguish Ikebana from traditional flower arrangements. Those who practice this art know that it is based on minimalism, the focus on space, its unique materials and asymmetry. Another amazing tradition is that of the Ramayan of India, a tale that describes both love and honor. When the art of Ikebana meets Ramayana, something truly beautiful emerges.
Ramayana through Ikebana, by Meena Iyer and Simran Sadana, is a unique combination of mythology and explanations of how Ikebana has been used to represent various sequential scenes from the Ramayana. With attention to color, shape, position, and texture, each arrangement in the book’s photos tells the story in the most impressive way. The authors have taken great care to caption each photograph, listing the materials and the rationale for the arrangement of each in relation to the story.
I found it amazing to be able to imagine the scenes from the story when looking at the arrangements. Iyer and Sadana have succeeded in bringing together for readers two exceptional art forms and presenting them in a way that they will appreciate and marvel at. The Ramayana is beautifully narrated throughout the book and carries with it both amazing symbolism and life lessons that readers will enjoy.
I can see the work of Iyer and Sadana as beneficial in both the literary and visual arts. Indian history itself is a wonderful representation of both culture and tradition, while the vivid descriptions of Ikebana throughout the book benefit those who study flower arranging. The authors have gifted readers with true beauty, on many levels.
I was pleasantly surprised at how the two art forms seamlessly meld together to convey a timeless story. I highly recommend it Ramayana through Ikebana anyone interested in exploring other cultures, those curious about the history and meaning of Ikebana, and any fan of mythology. Iyer and Sadan’s work is a beautiful presentation of two cultures united in one literary work.