History of Origami


A piece of paper is considered to have a thousand and one uses. Not only is it used for writing or printing, but it can also be used for making decoration pieces or craftwork. Most of us when we were little kids tried to make birds and other items with paper. During those times, we probably didn’t even know what we were doing yet still called our creations origami!

What is origami?

In a nut shell, “Origami” is a way of using paper to make a sculpture or model. ‘Ori’, a Japanese word, means folding and ‘kami’ (later changed to gami) means paper. These two Japanese words complete the meaning of Origami.

The goal of Origami, an ancient Japanese art form, is to transform a piece paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting. What makes this art form so special is that while making an origami figure, no cuts or glue is allowed or to be used. The basics is to make small folds with paper to make various incredible designs. These designs usually begin with a small square sheet of paper whose sides may have different colors or different prints.

History of origami

The history of origami is quite old and unique. This Japanese art form started in 17th century. When Japanese monks first bought paper from china in 6th century, paper folding was strictly for ceremonial purposes due to their unavailability at that time. However, after that, with the advances in technology, it became recreational as well as ceremonial. Though origami these days are widely practiced as a craftwork, it always had different significant values. In Japan, dried fish and meat folded with paper were used as Origami forms and it was considered a token of good luck. Paper butterflies were used in Japanese wine bottle in wedding ceremonies. If we look back in the Origami history, we will see there was an old saying that if a person can fold 1000 crane, his or her wish will be granted.

Though it seems Japan has the most extensive history of origami, there are also some independent traditions in china, Germany, Italy, Spain and other places around the world. In mid 1990s, Origami actually became popular outside Japan. Since then it has evolved as a modern art form all over the world.  As it is made from paper and difficult to preserve, earliest evidences of origami is rare to find. However, origami history shows that the earliest evidence found in Europe was of paper folding boats.

The art of origami was introduced in Spain somewhere in between the 8th and 12th century. People of different region used to call it by different names. However, by 1890s, the name origami officially came into light.

The modern history of Origami not only describes the techniques of making artistic shapes and forms, but also calculates the mathematical proportion of the folded forms. Now-a-days any laminar material can be used to make origami. There are many books written about origami techniques, as it is very popular and commonly practiced art form of all over the word. One can easily take available origami instructions over the internet and enjoy making origami figures for yourself, or for your dearest ones as a lovely gift!



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