THE EVOLUTION OF PAPER CRAFT: ORIGAMI

Origami came from two Japanese words: one is from the word “ori” meaning folding and the other from “kami” meaning paper. Origami is a traditional art of folding paper to create a two or three dimensional figure.

I made a recent discovery that origami was originally a Chinese invention. It was said to be carried over to Japan by Chinese Buddhist monks. It later became a tradition for samurai to exchange gifts adorned with intricately-folded strips of paper.

As a kid, I was fascinated with origami. For hours on end, I would just sit at our living room and create a horde of animals from paper. I even made a Japanese-themed nativity scene origami one Christmas. All of the figures were made from old newspaper. St. Joseph was a samurai, the Virgin Mary was a geisha, Baby Jesus was a pint-sized version of St. Joseph. The Three Kings were colorful samurai wearing origami kabuto (Japanese helmets), shepherds were drab-colored samurai, Archangel Michael was a winged samurai (Ok, so I cheated here because I glued wing cut-outs at the back, sue me). The Star of Bethlehem was represented as a yellow-colored shuriken. The animals range from camels, sheep, donkey, cranes, dogs, cats, pigs, elephants, penguins, and giant-sized frogs. Those were good times…

Japanese history tells us that origami was not intended at first for recreational purposes. It came from an old custom of folding certificates or other special documents that were done in such a way as prevent unauthorized copies from being made.

Origami today is a certified international art, with innovative variations like the three-dimensional origami and action origami.


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