We all love Origami, don’t we? Even the most noob person can remember building at least one boat or airplane in his childhood from scrap paper, sometimes even with the exam copy, to forget the sadness of a low grade. This colorful & universal childhood joy that almost every kid on this planet has enjoyed is called the “Origami” -the art of folding paper.
The paper has always been held as the forerunner of our civilizations. Ancient Babylonians used paper for educational purposes & for thousands of years, it has been used that way. But surprisingly, the origin of Origami is not a novelty as well. Doing something different with the papers other than the traditional use first came into the minds of Japanese monks in the 6th century! The word “Origami” is even a Japanese word. “Oru” means fold, “kami” means paper in Japanese; that’s where the name originated. The Buddhist monks made Origami not as a fun issue as we use it now but as a part of traditional & religious customs. They used to symbolize their religious signs by making Origami. But it could not flourish as a distinguished art as the paper was very much expensive at that time.
The practice of Origami then evolved through the European region, especially Spain & Germany. In the late nineteenth century, some kindergarten in Germany even adopted Origami as a means to teach geometry easily as folding papers could easily represent the figures.
Modern forms of Origami have been very sophisticated practices nowadays like modular art, color theory, minimalistic approaches. But the interesting fact is even the Japanese themselves introduced modern origami practices. The first-ever book of Origami was Sembazuru Orikata (Thousand Crane Folding), written by Akisato Rito & published in 1797. This book was more about cultural customs compilation than a series of instructions.
Akira Yoshizawa, another Japanese guy, is often known as the “grandmaster of origami.” Born in 1911, he first learned Origami in his childhood. In his youth, he used his knowledge of Origami to teach new employees in his factory, where he started working on the geometric concepts needed to accomplish their jobs. In 1954, Yoshizawa published Atarashii Origami Geijutsu (New Origami Art). This work established the foundation for the symbols and notations that we use today when describing how to fold a particular model.
Some interesting mythical concept of Origami:
- a traditional story in Japan says if a person folds 1,000 paper cranes, they will be granted one special wish.
- Origami butterflies were used during Shinto weddings to represent the bride and groom. It’s strictly customary for them to use butterfly origami.
- Samurai warriors are assumed to have exchanged gifts ornamented with noshi, a sort of good luck token made of folded strips of paper.
The uses of Origami can be used in vast business sectors as well. Plastic causes a lot of harm to the environment. A normal plastic coffee cup can take 20 years to dissolve in the environment. At the same time, plastic-free paper bags can be used easily. The World Economic forum reports that plastic-free things are dissolved in water as well. Origami packaging can be a catchy concept for a pollution-free environment. For small parties, the decorations can be totally done by creating miniature paper origamis. Replacing every small decoration habit towards leading a sustainable environment like this can create a lot of earning opportunities for origami artists as well.
Origami is not just fun art. While other art leftover materials deal damage to the environment, Origami is a full environment sustainable practice. Nowadays, it is merged with the “green” concept as well.
In a world full of contamination, we need these kinds of practices to widen our artistic minds, thus contributing to a better, greener future.
Md. Shafkat Imon Araf