A LITTLE FOREWORD
All the information you will find in this page, coming from what I've red through the years on origami books,
and recently on the web.
ONCE UPON A TIME THE ORIGAMI
Origami ia a japanese word meaning "folding paper" (or "folded paper" depending the on context) and heads the
tecnique of creating shapes using only a square piece of paper and a series of folds, without cutting or
So origami could have taken its origin from this, even if there are no precise informations about.
It is in early 600 AD, that Japan and paper meet each other for the first time, thanks to some Chinese Buddhist monks that brought paper (and its making tecnique) in Japan.
As soon as it appeared in Japan, paper had an immediate success all over the country. But, even if paper diffusion was quite quick, it remained for many century and expensive material, and so it was used only during official religious cerimonies and important events.
So it is easy to understand how paper was not for all people, but for the only ones who could pay for it.
However, we do not imagine the japanese noblemen of the V and VI century involved in creating origami model as we do now. Papaer in fact was used, during rituals, to do simple and abstract fugures with a symbolic meaning. Those first origami were strongly conditioned by the same stiff formal rules that led social life of that age.
The most ancient real examples of origami model come from the Heian age (794-1185 AD).
In this age Japan reached maybe its maximum level of aestethic refinement, and also was the period in whitch Shintoism had its widest diffusion in the country. Both those factors has given a big boost to origami.
In many religious cerimony, indeed, were used floded paper models (it is interesting to know that "kami" could also mean "gods" as well as "paper"). From boats to fishes, from lamps to dolls, those kind of origami were used as offers ornament or as offers themselves.
Other example of the same time, were the cover of sake bottle (used even today during Shintoist marriage rituals), and two models rapresenting butterflies (male and female).
In the Kamakura age (1185-1333 AD) was created the model of noshi.
The honor to envelope such an important food, made the origami of noshi as important as what it contained, becoming itself the gift of immortality.
It also interesting to notice that the origami of noshi could be considered as the real progenitor of modern origami because it was done without any cutting of the paper.
The Tokugawa age (1603-1867 AD), better known as Edo period from the name of the empire capital, marked a real milestone in the history of origami.
Until the beginning of XVIII century, infact, all the tecniques to fold models were handed down orally from ols generation to the following ones.
After this first book, were published some other ones with the instructions to fold some other traditional model (cranes, frogs, stars, boxes, dolls, and so on). From that period and until the birth of modern origami, japanese people have continued to hand down the traditional origami models as they were, instead of developing them in something new.
Between the XVI and the XVII century, in Europe, we can assist to a developing of autonome kind of origami, that was not related with the one born in Japan.
In Spain, in fact, due to the cultural influence of arabian invasion, it started using specials folding tecniques on starched fabric.
Beside the well known "gorgiere"
PAPIROFLEXIA is the nane that spanish people give to their own origami, to enhance its separete origin and evolution from the japanese one.
The most famous papiroplexia model, the "Pajarita" has become the symbol of the papiroflexia itself.
During the 1700 AD, in Europe was also very common the "Magic fan". It was a large and long strip of paper, folded like an accordion, that, in the exper hands of an illusionist, could be transform evy quickly in many different shapes (even today magician and illusionists often use multiform origami model as a part of their shows).
In the modern age origami turn into a new life with the creatve origami.
Progenitor of this big origami renaissance was, in my opinion, Akira Yoshizawa. He has been the real first origami ambassador in the word, and he has given to us a lot of origami masterpiece. Moreover he has had also the merit for the creation of a unique and universal way to draw origami diagrams.
We owe to him the folding codification such as "valley fold" and "mountain fold" and many other "drawn language".
Ina world in whitch everybody speaks his own language, to create a unique one is not such a commom things.
From Akira Yoshizava untill today, we have seen many origami masters, and also it happens more and more often that origami go behind the edge of the pure art, giving solutions to actual technical problems (from the air-bags in your car to the solar pannel on the international space station).
Origami is a living art
Main references on World Wide Web (I really thank them)