Special Feature on Kenzan

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Special Feature on Kenzan

History of Kenzan

Choice of a suitable kenzan is important for a good ikebana work

The kenzan has an important function as holding the stems in place. The appropriate choice of the kenzan suitable for the size, shape of the vase and the plants leads to a good ikebana work.

However, it might be hard to choose a suitable kenzan, because there are various kinds of the containers and kenzans.

You can see below for the know-how about the choice for a suitable kenzan.

Choose the size

The number attached to the name of each kenzan as "#○○" indicates the size (diameter) of the kenzan in centimeters. Please note that the diameter is of the metal stand (bottom) of the kenzan, but NOT of the part which the spikes stand.
Measure the width of the edge of the container to choose a suitable kenzan.

One is supposed not to look into the container on appreciating the ikebana. However, a too bigger kenzan spoils the ikebana work even though it is arranged nicely.

A portion between the edge of the vase and water surface is called "mizugiwa" (water's edge). To display the overall ikebana beautifully, it is necessary to make the mizugiwa neat.

A kenzan has the important function to make the mizugiwa look nice. One needs to decide the size of the kenzan in enough consideration of the quantity of the plants and size of the inserting portion of the stems, etc..

Kenzan

Kenzan

Choose the level of the kenzan in a vase

The position of the tip of the kenzan is supposed to be 1.5 centimeter below the edge of the vase.
(P. 31 of "Ikenobo Rikka no Manabikata vol. 1" and in P. 114 of "Hajimete no Ikenobo Ikebana Nyumon")

*Nowadays taught as 2 centimeters below the edge of the vase, at the Ikenobo Central Institute of Ikenobo Headquarters

Kenzan

Choose the shape

Round kenzan is normally used, and there also are several shapes of kenzan, "rectangle", "funagata" (navicular or boat-shaped) and "oval", etc..

Kenzan

In rikka and shoka, round kenzan is used most often. In jiyuka, one need to choose the suitable kenzan which matchs the shape of the container, like the photo shown above.

Choose the type of the needles

The kenzans are roughly classified as, "for woody plants", "for grassy plants" and "for both woody & grassy plants".

Normal kenzan used often is for "woody plants". Comparing to the "woody plants" kenzan, the needles are thickly spread on the "grassy plants" kenzan. The quantity used varies depending on the size and shape of the kenzan. Nomally, approximately 370 pcs. are used on "for woody" and 610 pcs. on "for grassy".

The needles on the middle portion of the "both woody & grassy plants" kenzan are strengthened. And, the needles on its sorrounding portion are thickly spread for the grassy plants.

Kenzan

Choose the shape of the base

The base of the kenzan varies in shape, flat or funnel-shape with a nonslip rubber cover, etc..

Kenzan

Flat-shaped kenzans are suitable for suiban (basin) style containers, or containers with a kenzan holding disk. Funnel-shaped kenzans fit the containers which the inside cavity is taperning downward.

There are some kenzans which a stabilizing post can be attached. You can make the kenzan stable by inserting the post in pebbles spread inside the container.
*the post is sold separately for some kenzans (some come with the keizan itself).
*the post cannot be attached to the kenzans which has no hole on the back.

Choose the color of the needles

The color of the kenzan is classified into 2 types, general brass yellow and bake-coating black.

The brass yellow needles may be noticeable on the black pebbles.

Thought there is no set rule for the color of the kenzan, the black one is highly recommended if you would like to make the kenzan less noticeable.

Kenzan

There are several other methods to hold the stems!

Several other items, other than the normal kenzans are used for holding stems as shown below.

Komiwara pastic straw

Komiwara

Mainly used in classical rikka or tatehana style.

Matagi forked stick

Matagi

Mainly used in shoka style. Douwa ring or ishiana are used in combination depending on the form of the container.

Oasis Floral Foam (water-absorbing sponge)

Oasis Floral Foam Oasis Floral Foam

・Easy to use for the ikebana beginners.
・Suitable for moribana style, bouquet, decoration flower, etc..
・Wide variety of colors.

Plastic kenzans

Plastic kenzans

Some has a sucking disk or sticker on the back, to enable to stick the kenzan on any place in a container. Suitable for the beginners or children.

Metal and aluminium wires, etc..

Metal and aluminium wires, etc..

Wires that can be easily curled are also used for fixing the stems. You can make any shape as you like. In some cases, wires are used as a part of ikebana.

How the kenzans are manufactured.

The kenzans sold at "Karaku" are all hand-crafted with the greatest care. Let's take a look at the manufacturing process.

  1. kenzans
    1. Inserting the needles into each hole on the board. The board varies in size depending on the size of the kenzan in production.
  2. kenzans
    2. Preparing the basement of kenzan after all the needles are inserted. A peculiar casting mold is set around the needles.
  3. kenzans
    3. Pouring the smelted lead into the mold. Can you imagine what is being manufactured just by looking at only this photo?
  4. kenzans
    4. Removing from the mold using a spatula after the lead solidifies. A heavy work!
  5. kenzans
    5. The lead at last takes off from the mold! The lead has many needles inserted and you can now easily recognize that the object is kenzan.
  6. kenzans
    6. Filing the surface of the lead to prevent the injury by any raised edge.

kenzans

7. Completes by attaching a nonslip rubber cover around the basement of the kenzan. As shown above, each kenzan is handmade carefully one by one. In ikebana, it is recommended that the kenzan itself should be less noticeable. The kenzans are what is called "behind-the-scenes-work".

Kenzan handy goods

Here are some handy tools for caring & supporting kenzans. The kenzans can be made last longer by appropriate care. Uncared-for kenzans may spoil the plants in ikebana. How is (are) your kenzan(s)?

Kenzan Needle Rake

Kenzan Needle Rake

Rake and remove the scraps of plants jammed among the needles.

Kenzan Pad

Kenzan Pad

The pad protects the surface of the vase from scratch by the kenzan, in addition to preventing slipping of the kenzan.

Kenzan Needle Straightener

Kenzan Needle Straightener

Straighten the needles that are bent due to the hardness of wood materials.

Vase Stabilizing Sinker

Vase Stabilizing Sinker

The sinker stabilizes the container without using pebbles. Furthermore, it makes the kenzan itself stable by hooking each tip of the sinker on the needles.

Kenzan Raising Rubber Mat

Kenzan Raising Rubber Mat

The set of rubber mats works well in case a kenzan holding disk cannot adjust the level of the kenzan properly. 3 pcs. set of the rubber mats of different thickness.

Kenzan Case

Kenzan Case

Handy for carrying a kenzan. To protect the kenzan itself and its sorroundings.

We hope that the above information might be of some help to you for searching a kenzan that meets your needs.
Although the kenzan should be made less noticeable in ikenbana, a beautiful ikebana work always uses the stem-fixing method that perfectly suits the flowers and container.
Please feel free to contact us if you cannot find a suitable kenzan for your container(s). We are happy to help you at any time.

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