It is said that the practice of flower arranging was originally used in Japan to pay tribute to the gods, and the floral arrangements were therefore considered sacred. In Japan, historical records documenting the appearance of traditional flower arrangements date back to about 500 years ago. It was in the seventeenth century that followers of this new form of artistic expression started creating the rules leading to the formation of what would eventually become the disciplinary art that is now known as Ikebana. The diversity of forms and methods that were developed over time made Ikebana a much more sophisticated form of art. In the end, Ikebana has become a discipline where the stage for the artistic expression is set by the harmony achieved through the combination of natural materials (flowers, stems and branches), the container, and the lines and forms that characterize the art of Japanese flower arrangement.
The judging of the designers work is extremely subjective. Each person that sees the design will make their judgement based upon personal preferences for design styles and flower choices. There is no set of common criteria used in making decisions about whether a person likes or dislikes a floral arrangement. In fact, there is not a standard criteria list which is used by everyone. To further convolute matters, judging actually comes from more than just one or two people _ they come from the recipient, the customer who placed the order, and third party observers (anyone else who sees the arrangement). Therefore it is virtually impossible to please everyone with each design that is created.