Interesting Origami Facts
By: Rachel Krech
Origami is a world-renowned art form that can be traced to about 500 A.D. It’s origins can be traced to China, but the art was refined in Japan hundreds of years later. Since then, paper folding has become a beloved art that has traveled around the world. However, origami crafts aren’t just about creating simple creatures or designs from origami paper. There are dozens of other interesting origami facts, including those that have broken world records and left historians stunned.
China’s Origami Influence
Though origami comes from Japan, the original concept of paper folding is derived from China. Since paper was first invented there, the Chinese have folded the material for a variety of reasons. The art was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks, where it was finally refined as an art form. Today, Japan is still credited as the birthplace of the origami craft, but origami is still extremely popular in China and other parts of Asia.
Cranes: Large and Small
Most people think that origami is about the creation of small things, but try telling that to Wings for Peace. The organization made the world’s largest crane in 1999. It stood 215 feet tall and weighed 1,750 pounds. The crane was so big that it had to be made inside of a football stadium. Contrary to popular belief, the crane is made from 100 percent paper.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the smallest crane, made by Akira Naito of Japan, was folded from a 0.1-by-0.1-mm square of paper. The creator was able to make it using a microscope and a pair of fine tweezers. He is still trying to create an even smaller crane today using the same method.
Surrounded By Cranes
The largest number of origami cranes was created as part of the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. A total of 250,000 paper cranes were folded and displayed in a large memorial in the city. Each had a person’s name on it and a short, peaceful message. A paper crane is a symbol for world peace.
The Oldest Illustration
We all know that paper disintegrates over time. Because of this, finding old origami designs is nearly impossible. However, the oldest illustration of an origami design dates from 1490. The simple illustration shows paper boats floating on a body of water with a sun in the background. It was created by Johannes di Sacrobesco in Venice.
Origami’s Other Inspirations
Origami isn’t just about creating things from paper. Today, origami inspires food, fashion and architecture. In fact, fashion designer Christian Dior selected an origami and Japanese theme for his 2007 Haute Couture collection. Additionally, numerous buildings in Japan have an origami look to them. Just visit Tokyo, Osaka or any other Japanese city to see for yourself.
Not Just Japan
Origami wasn’t just an art form in Japan and China. It was brought to Spain by the Moors around 1100 A.D., but it wasn’t used as art. Instead, it was employed by scholars and mathematicians as a way to understand mathematical and geometrical concepts. Because of their Islamic roots, the people were not allowed to create animal figures because it was considered immoral and against the teachings of the Koran.
Not Just Paper
Origami is traditionally made out of a square piece of origami paper, which can be white, colorful or boasting unique designs. However, origami can also be made from coarse cloth, foil and even food. Many artists around the world specialize in these different types of materials, including international chefs and even fashion designers.
Masters of the Art
Just as some dedicate their lives to painting, origami experts, or master folders, are prevalent in the origami world. Their work can be seen in books and museums. Many of them reside in Japan and even America.
Surprisingly, origami didn’t reach America or England until about 1900. People in both countries were fascinated by the elaborate and remarkable designs. Today, it’s an art form taught in American schools and one that practically every American is familiar with.