Japanese parents cherish their pre-teen daughters and hail their health and happiness with displays of small dolls – hina – every March 3. Ornamental only and not for play, they represent the enthroned Emperor and Empress and their attendants, garbed in the sumptuous court robes of 1,000 years ago.
These elaborate miniatures are the hallmark of Hinamatsuri, the Girl’s Day Festival. Most often arrayed on multi-tiered stands draped in red cloth, they are many times family heirlooms.
As part of the festival, girls hold parties with friends and enjoy traditional foods such as eaten by Japan’s ancient rulers and nobles. Superstition says the dolls must be stored the day after the celebration: leaving them too long on show may result in a girl’s eventual marriage being delayed. Doll displays usually end after a girl turns 10; a family will then stow away its set of hina treasure-like, awaiting the day when it can be passed down to a little girl grown into a woman with daughters of her own to honor.
Our doll set is a vintage one, more than a century old. Its Emperor and Empress have gazed regally upon multiple generations of young girls. You can gaze back, in admiration of their meticulously detailed costumes and their many retainers, on view in all their finery from February 15 to March 16.
Enjoy the beauty of dozens of signature floral compositions highlighting the wide breadth of flower arrangement styles in one of Japan’s most cherished art forms, during our Spring 2019 Ikebana Floral Festival.
As we do each year, we open the Gardens to the talented adepts of five different schools of Ikebana practice. The result: elegant floral displays throughout our grounds and buildings that reflect the harmony, discipline, and refinement of traditional Japanese flower arranging.
The festival runs from Tuesday, February 19 through Friday, March 1. Admission is free for members of the Gardens. Admission for non-members is $15 for adults and $5 for children ages three to 15, and includes entry to the entire Gardens, our Museum, and our Art Gallery.
Be sure to combine your visit with a walk through our permanent display of selections from our collection of more than 200 Ikebana vases and vessels – the largest in the nation. Made of ceramics, bamboo, bronze, lacquer, clay, and glass, some are more than a century old, others are contemporary; all are carefully designed to complement the Zen-like spirit of the flower arrangements they hold.
Festival parking is available in the lot inside our main gate on North Alvernon Way and on East Justin Lane, one half block south of the Gardens. Please DO NOT park on East Hampton Place, immediately north of Yume.
The pale pink sakura, or cherry blossom, is the delicate, ephemeral herald of spring in Japan. Outings to parks to stroll and picnic under blooming cherry trees and to reflect on the fleeting character of life as petals fall are especially popular with residents of the country’s heavily built-up cities.
Opening on February 9 with a reception in our Art Gallery is “Sakura: Photography by Mark Taylor.” Departing from the usual idyllic portrayals of cherry blossom season, it contrasts the fragility of flowers with the hard edge of Japan’s urban jungle.
Captured in these images is the tension and opposition visible in the sight of nature blooming amid a dense visual grid of buildings, power lines, freeways, signs, and commuter trains. Attend the artist reception from 5 to 7 pm to meet Taylor and to learn why he was inspired to use the hardscape of cities as the strong graphic background to cherry blossom time.
Because the reception is being held after business hours, Yume’s gardens and Museum will NOT be open to visitors at that time.
“Sakura” runs until April 30, and all photographs in the show are for sale.
Flower arrangements of subtle elegance known as Ikebana are for Westerners one of the most recognizable elements of Japanese heritage.
There is more to what the Japanese call “The Way of the Flower” than meets the eye, however. Flower arranging in Japan is a disciplined and meditative art form. It embodies ideals that for the Japanese govern the essence of taste and beauty, enable harmony with nature, and yield insight into how to cultivate personal tranquility amid the vagaries of human existence.
Yume Gardens Executive Director Patricia Deridder has studied and taught Ikebana flower arranging styles for more than four decades, in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. At 2:00 pm on Saturday, January 12, she will introduce the story and teachings of Ikebana from their beginnings in the 15th century, and demonstrate some of the basic arrangement methods that have emerged since, in different schools of this still evolving tradition.
This event illuminating the spirit of Ikebana and the skills to practice it is free with regular Gardens admission.