History of Origami

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The term origami is comprised of two Japanese words: oru (to fold) and kami (paper). It has been defined as "A form of visual / sculptural representation that is defined primarily by the folding of the medium (usually paper)." Contrary to the common assumption, historians believe that origami did not originate in Japan, but in China in the first century AD. At that time, someone realized the inherent delight that one gets from folding a simple piece of paper into a masterpiece. The art form quickly spread across the globe--to Europe, Arabia, and then Japan; taking a firm hold in the culture and religion of the Japanese people. It became an intrinsic part of traditional samurai classes and kimono patterns. Origami forms were passed down from father to son. The pattern of folds and turns was carefully repeated and improved; from generation to generation by mouth and hand. Sadly, many origami forms were lost over the years because the oral tradition was not carried on. The first origami manuals were published in the late 1700's and early 1800's. These manuals contained many traditional forms as well as standard folds and procedures. Modern origami is a product of a cultural exchange between East and West. In truth it is not as much a part of Japanese culture as it is an amalgam of Europe and Japan. In the 1930's, a modern origami master, Akira Yoshizawa created thousands of origami forms, many of which we use today. He is the creator of the system of symbols and terms commonly used in origami books. Bibliography Anderson, Eric M. "Origami History." August 1, 2003. www.paperfolding.com/history/ (September 15, 2003). Hatori, Koshiro. "K's Origami." September 8, 2003. www.jade.dti.ne.jp/~hatori/index.html (September 15, 2003). Kasahara, Kunihiko. Origami Vol. 3. Tokyo: Sanrio Co, Ltd., 1978. Nantus, Sheryl. "Origami History: The Art of Paper Folding." 2002.
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