Definitions

flower arrangements

Korean flower arrangement

Korean flower arrangement is being revived as an indoor art, and most often uses simple Joseon dynasty whiteware to highlight various kinds of Korean flowers and tree branches in elegant but unforced natural arrangements. Im Wha-Kong of Ewha Woman's University in Seoul, who also made her own ceramic wares, is the greatest living exponent of this art, and hosts quarterly displays of flower arrangements keeping this tradition alive. There are at least a dozen schools of traditional flower arrangements.

Introduction

Formal flower arrangements were closely allied to the development of the Korean tea ceremony, and suggestions have been made that these were often corner-of-the-room arrangements on small tables using a central vessel with most often a small branch and a small group of local flowers. Sprigs of pear blossoms were particularly well known, and during the winters ever-green sprigs that would have enhanced celadonware, or given a cool elegance to whiteware. Leaves, blossoms, ferns, and grasses were also used.

Arrangements were primarily done by women in tea-houses, and in the greater houses, Confucian male masters may have done this as well.

History

There is no exact date for the origination of this floral art, and it was not documented before the 14th century as a distinct art. Votive altar arrangements of flowers for Buddhist temples were and are always profuse, they were precursors. But it was under Confucian hands, in Joseon Yi dynasty times, that arrangements can be said definitely to have begun and were known, and included in numerous illustrations by artists of that time.

Major schools of Korean flower arranging

The initial list would include:

  • Jeju Island school
  • Seoul schools
  • Pusan (Busan) schools
  • Mountain schools
  • Palace school
  • Jeonju Tea ceremony school - based in Jeonju with a frequent use of pine, and flowering blossoms of pear;
  • Wha-Kong Hoe school - based in Seoul, and representing the work of Madame Wha-Kong and her natural approach to the art, with ceramics by her own hand in traditional Confucian patterns;
  • Pyong-yang schools - Traditional flower arrangements are an important part of northern Korean culture, and innovations have been done on large scale decorative flower arrangements for festivals, but there has been little documentation of this art.

References

"Oriental Flower Arrangement" in three volumes and "Oriental Flower Arrangement 100" in four volumes by Im Wha-Kong, Seoul, 1995?

See also

External links

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