Monday, March 01, 2010

The History of Origami

Today, we had our monthly homeschool get together at our church. Last month, we had an oil painting lesson. This month we learned about oragami.


First, our teacher told us some of the history of origami. Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. The word origami comes from the Japanese word "ori" which means folding and "kami" which means paper. But, origami did not start in Japan. It started in China in the first or second century. It went to Japan in the sixth century. (above photo: "fortune teller" or what our teacher called a "Guess Who?")

At first, paper was very expensive and only the rich could afford to do origami. And, they found purposes for doing origami. For example, the Samurai warriors exchanged gifts called noshi. Noshi used strips of paper folded with strips of dried fish or dried meat. It was given as a good luck token. (above photo: "Guess Who?" upside down - can be used as a container. You can make these out of large squares of paper and actually make holiday containers, etc.)

As papermaking became easier, it became less expensive and origami was an art enjoyed by both rich and poor. (above photo: Box. You can modify the 4 white triangles by curling them or folding them in various ways.)

For centuries, there were no directions for origami written down. The art form was handed down from one generation to another. It was part of the cultural heritage of Japan. (above photo: Alex's bunny. It looks more like a bunny in person. You "blow up" this one to give it the "balloon" effect.)

Then, in 1797, the book How to Fold 1,000 Cranes was published. It contained the first written directions for folding origami. This book was based on the custom that folding 1,000 paper cranes would bring good luck. The more recent children's book Sadako and One Thousand Cranes by Eleanor Coerr also talks about this custom. (above photo: Alex's samuri helmet)

We ended up having 12 girls in the class with ages ranging from 5 to 12. There were also 4 boys who worked at another table. I was surprised that all of the girls lasted for 2 hours of paper folding! And, our teacher was wonderful. She brought in some samples of her work and they are amazing! (above photo: teacher showing Alex how to make a ring from a dollar bill.)

This is Alex's ring. Our teacher wears one and Alex asked her after class if she could show her how to make one. She did! Anyway, I just spread the photos out of some of the projects we did today. The teacher stressed that one of the most important things in origami is to be precise! Alex has tried origami before, but she is doing so much better because of our wonderful teacher! (above photo: Alex's dollar ring)

I got my information about the history of origami from our teacher's lecture and this site called "History of Origami by Callie and Jeremy."  We also Googled and found lots of lesson - both written and videos - of how to do many origami projects. So, if you're interested, give it a try!


Brenda @ Tie That Binds Us said...

Oh, we LOVE making origami animals. These are great pictures!

Sybille said...

Great! Origami is really artistic! I love to look at the incredible things that are made with origami.

Robin said...

I used to love doing origami, but Cade does not have the patience or the manual dexterity to be a precise paper folder.
He enjoys looking at the ones that I make at the dinner table though.

lahbluebonnet said...

I need to post my origami stuff. I did a special project for it in my math for teacher's class in college.

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