History of Origami
Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. "Ori" is the Japanese word for folding and "kami" is the Japanese word for paper. That is how origami got its name. However, origami did not start in Japan. It began in China in the first or second century and then spread to Japan sometime during the sixth century. At first, there was very little paper available so only the rich could afford to do paper folding. The Japanese found useful purposes for their origami. For example, the Samurai would exchange gifts with a form known as a noshi. This was a paper folded with a strip of dried fish or meat. It was considered a good luck token. Also, the Shinto Noblemen would celebrate weddings by wrapping glasses of sake or rice wine in butterfly forms that had been folded to represent the bride and groom. As easier papermaking methods were developed, paper became less expensive. Origami became a popular art for everyone, no matter if they were rich or poor. However, the Japanese people have always been very careful not to waste anything. They have always saved even the tiniest scraps of paper and used them for folding origami models. For centuries there were no written directions for folding origami models. The directions were taught to each generation and then handed down to the next. This form of art became part of the cultural heritage of the Japanese people. In 1797, How to Fold 1000 Cranes was published. This book contained the first written set of origami instructions which told how to fold a crane. The crane was considered a sacred bird in Japan. It was a Japanese custom that if a person folded 1000 cranes, they would be granted one wish. Origami became a very popular form of art as shown by the well-known Japanese woodblock print that was made in 1819 entitled "A Magician Turns Sheets of Birds". This print shows birds being created from pieces of paper. In 1845 another book, Window on Midwinter, was published which included a collection of...
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