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Ancient Art of Origami, In Three Parts

Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paperfolding, dates back at least 1500 years. Gido Rokoan, in his classic Sembazuru origata (1797), covers the art in great detail, from origami objects used in Shinto ceremonies to decorative dolls and ornaments used with gifts. At least since the Muromanchi period (1333-1568), the "purest" form of the art has permitted only folding -- no cutting.

Here we see one modern practitioner in mid-creation, contemplating his work thus far and pondering how to reach the next step.

Off to the side, the impure temptations of tools tug seductively. The question becomes: give in to the topological conundrum, or maintain esthetic discipline?

Temptation vanquished, the origami artform emerges in all its glory. "Oh. An Apple PowerBook. That is impressive, but I was hoping for a swan."


Photo Copyright 1997 Dave Ottalini

June 28, 1997 lic