IKEBANA, one of the traditional arts of Japan, has been practiced for more than 600 years. It developed from the Buddhist ritual of offering flowers to the spirits of the dead. By the middle of the fifteenth century, with the emergence of the first classical styles, IKEBANA achieved the status of an art form independent of its religious origins, though it continued to retain strong symbolic and philosophical overtones. The first teachers and students were priests and members of the nobility. However, as time passed, many different schools arose, styles changed, and IKEBANA came to be practiced at all levels of Japanese society.