Japanese Art of Paper Folding: Origami
Origami come from word ori meaning “folding”, and kami meaning “paper”. It is the art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture. In modern usage, the word “origami” is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin. The purpose of it to transform a flat sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper.
The most popular origami model is the Japanese paper crane. In general, these designs begin with a square sheet of paper whose sides may be of different colours, prints, or patterns. Traditional Japanese origami, which has been practiced since the Edo period (1603–1867), has often been less strict about these conventions, sometimes cutting the paper or using nonsquare shapes to start with. The principles of origami are also used in stents, packaging and other engineering applications.
In Japan history, the earliest unambiguous reference to a paper model is in a short poem by Ihara Saikaku in 1680. He mentions a traditional butterfly design used during Shinto weddings. Folding filled some ceremonial functions in Edo period Japanese culture; noshi were attached to gifts, much like greeting cards are used today. This developed into a form of entertainment; the first two instructional books published in Japan are clearly recreational.