Last Updated on January 13, 2020
If you’re enthusiastic about paper folding as a craft, it’s good to know a bit more about the history of origami. While no one person can take credit for inventing the craft, the art of paper folding is nearly as ancient as paper itself.
In fact, there are records of both Japanese and Chinese origami histories going as far back as the fifth century. However, it is generally acknowledged that paper was first created about 105 A.D. in China.
The Japanese first put paper to use around the sixth century. While it’s true that other ethnicities engaged in different forms of paper folding, it was still believed that the Japanese who realized the possibilities of using paper as a platform for art.
Origami: The History behind the Name
Origami was first referred to as orikata which has a literal translation of folded shapes. The term was changed to origami in 1880. The word “origami” originates from the Japanese terms oru which means to fold, and kami which means paper.
It’s unknown why this term was picked out, although historians have theorized that the characters for the term were basically the easiest for children to learn to write.
Origami: Then and Now
Over the years, a great number of people became drawn to the idea of learning to make origami figures provided that the paper is an inexpensive craft supply.
Ironically, when origami was first developed and put to use, it was an art exclusively for the elite. The monks in Japan folded origami figures for spiritual reasons. The art was likewise used in different official rituals, like the practice of folding paper butterflies to embellish sake bottles during a wedding reception in Japan.
One form of origami called Tsutsumi, the art of folding paper gift wrappers, was used in numerous events to represent truthfulness and purity. On the other hand, Tsuki or the folded pieces of paper accompanying a treasured gift was another example of paper folder for a formal ceremony and was used as a documentation of authenticity.
As the paper evolved into a budget-friendly commodity, common people started making origami figures as presents. They also created folded cards and envelopes for their letters. Origami was then used as an academic tool, since the folding techniques entail several aspects that are tightly related to the study of math.
The great thing about origami is that it’s never too late to learn how to learn the craft. Young or old, the art is for anyone. For added inspiration, here are 40 stunning origami figures:
Rainbow Cube Ring
St. Michael – The Archangel by Tran Trung Hieu
Moth Origami Lampshade
Aperture Science Sentry Turret
Origami Sculpture Designed by Jo Nakashima
Origami Wall Art
Origami Beetle by Shuki Kato
Origami Bike by Ryo Aoki
Moneygami by Yosuke Hasegawa
Scorpion Origami by Robert J. Lang
Blue Whale Origami
Geometric Origami by RIchard Sweeney
Origami Dinosaur by Adam Tran
Origami Nazgul by Jason Ku
Kiwi by Bernard Peyton
Constrained Bowl by Linda Smith
Origami F-18 Fighter Jet Out of a Dollar Bill
Origami by Eyal
Little Roses Kusudama by Maria Sinayskaya
Geometric Currency Sculptures Folded by Kristi Malakoff
Kusudama Paper Flowers
King Cobra by Ronald Koh
Event Horizon by Byriah Loper
Flower Tessellation by Evan Zodl