The process of drying flowers dates back to ancient times. Flowers have historically been part of Egyptian traditions. Pharaohs adorn their war carts with flowers before being sent for war. Many types of flowers were also arranged in bouquets to be gifted or as garlands to decorate the bodies of their dead. Flowers were present in joyous occasions, sorrows and victories. The flowers were also being dried and used in aromatics and cosmetics. Perfumes were used during religious and royal ceremonies, making fragrances from herbs, flowers and grains to be sent along with their loved ones to the afterlife.
The Egyptians were one of the first to recognise national plants. Lotus and Papyrus were the most iconic flowers that symbolised upper and lower Egypt. The blue water lily, also known as the blue lotus, is prominently featured on the pillars, stone alters and within the Egyptian temples. Although Egyptians favoured fresh flower arrangements, they were one of the first civilisations to immortalise them as artificial flowers made of more durable materials.
As the global transportation systems grew and the world became more interconnected, the dominant flowers Lotus and Papyrus were being replaced by newer imports from the East, especially Japan. The Japanese embraced the flower preservation through an art form known as Oshibana, which dates back as far as the 16th century. It is the craft of pressing flowers to preserve the beauty of flowers and branches to create an art on washi paper. Oshibana has evolved to include more than just pressed flower. It transforms a leaf into a tree and petals into mountains.
In another part of the world, a similar trend could be found in Victorian England. Victorians adore flowers. Fresh flowers were used to decorate their homes, and were also depicted in paintings, carvings, embroidery and clothing. As mentioned earlier, Oshibana was meticulous and skilled. As trade with the Japanese increases, the art became fashionable in Victorian England as well. Victorian women also used dried flowers to design pictures. They were being added to jewellery designs and fans. Pressing flowers was the quintessential past time for Victorian women. Flowers were often complimented with ribbons to create beautiful pictures. Other times, flowers were often slipped in between the pages of a book to preserved memories of a special day.
Dried flowers are now frequently used in bouquets, as they able to retain its beauty for a longer time and they are favourites of those who adores the rustic aesthetics!