Word for Wednesday: Origami

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In this weeks insight into our ever-growing lexis we’ll take a look into an ancient yet hugely popular craft, which originated in the Far East.

The invention of paper is widely attributed to the Chinese political official Tsai Lun in the first century. Although paper can be traced to as early as 200BC, he is traditionally credited for the standardization of a papermaking process.

It is said that Buddhist monks brought paper to Japan, although paper was still very valuable. It is after this that the Japanese were able to perfect the beautiful and delicate practice of paper folding now known as ‘Origami’.

The word Origami is a compound of two shorter and rather obvious Japanese words, ‘ori’ meaning ‘fold’ and ‘kami’ meaning ‘paper’. It is interesting to note, however, that ‘kami’ when written using another Japanese character means ‘God’.

Was paper such a blessing to the Ancient Japanese that they chose their word for it to be synonymous with God?

Origami has spread into worldwide popularity and is used in primary education to teach manual dexterity as well as three-dimensional thinking. Origami is also a popular hobby (I’ve recently tried my hand at it) and is regarded by many as a highly valuable creative activity.

With the Internet and the innumerable books on the art of Origami it is now easy to get started (although often infuriatingly frustrating!). You will find yourself creating intricate models that would have astounded even the great masters of ancient Japanese Origami in no time.

Here are some we made earlier…

18 Jun 2014
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