The Origami Beginning
Origami is the art of paper folding. It is a great way to spend time creating beautiful things and a great hobby to enjoy.
So where does origami come from? Where did it get its start?
Ori in Japanese means paper and gami in Japanese means folding. So Origami means to fold paper.
Before origami could be developed it had to be invented. The person who did that was a Chinese man named Cai Lun who lived under the Han Dynasty in the second century around 105 AD. He came up with a way to make paper.
At first paper was difficult to make and very expensive. But it was fabricated and used in monasteries to record all sorts of information.
It is Monks who brought paper from China to Japan. And it is in Japan where someone got the bright idea to start folding it.
Paper folding was done for ceremonial things like weddings and grand occasions. The “noshi” or folded paper was given as a gift and was even thought to bring good luck among samurai warriors.
Butterfly origami, for example, were traditional wedding gifts.
As the technique of making paper migrated along the Silk road west, paper found it s way into Europe through Spain. Spain at the time, was occupied by the Moors who brought their creativity to paper folding.
Though paper and paper folding took hold in Europe, it is cloth folding, like folding napkins, that was popular in the elite class.
While Europe was exposed to paper folding, it was really the Japanese who made origami the phenomenon and popular art form it has become today.
Contemporary Origami History
In contemporary times, it is a Japanese artist by the name of Akira Yoshizawa, a world master with over 50000 creative designs, who established origami as the artistic movement it is today.
He met a rich benefactor in New York, Lillian Oppenheimer who founded the Origami center in New York in 1958. From there folding groups appeared all over the world.
Some of the notable groups today include Origami USA, the British Origami Society, Nippon Origami Association, Japanese Origami Art Society, and the Israeli Origami Center.
There are master origami folders through out the world and origami is not only an art form but it is also a business.
Origami masters have worked to design heart stents for medicine and worked on all sorts of industrial design ideas.
Origami is a great hobby, and if you get good enough, can be a great way to make a living.