Origami in History and Math

Considering a hobby to start? Read our article on origami to learn more about paper folding!
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Origami in History and Math
Origami is not only one of the most popular hobbies in the world that helps relax and relieve stress but it also possesses indisputable educational benefits! So, if you are considering what hobby to start, this article is for you!

History of origami

Origami is translated from Japanese as “to fold paper;” therefore, the art of paper folding is traditionally associated with Japanese culture. Origami is believed to start around the 6th century when Buddhist monks introduced paper into Japan.

At first, origami was tightly connected with religious ceremonies. Ihara Saikaku in his 1680 poem tells us about folded paper butterflies that symbolized the groom and the bride during Shinto weddings. Paper folding was also practiced in China and Europe. Traditional Chinese funerals usually involve burning of a folded paper model of a sycee, or a gold ingot. The ritual is believed to appear during the Sung dynasty (905-1125 CE). A folded paper box that dates back to 1440 is regarded as the earliest archeological evidence of existing paper-folding traditions in medieval Europe. Later, the art of paper folding took the form of napkin-folding that was extremely popular in the 17th-18th cc. In the 1860s, the decade known as the Opening of Japan when the borders were opened to establish regular trade with the West, origami techniques began to spread around the world. However, origami gained enormous popularity only in 1954 when Akira Yoshizawa, a famous Japanese origamist, published a guide on how to fold paper models.

Types of origami

There are many types of origami

Nowadays, there are several types of origami techniques:
  • Action origami that has moving parts
  • Modular origami that consists of several identical origami parts
  • Wet-folding that presupposes the use of dampened paper
  • Pureland origami in which you can use only mountain and valley folds
  • Kirigami in which an origamist is allowed to use scissors.

Math and origami

Did you know that:

  • According to Kawazaki’s theorem, if the angles around a vertex of a crease pattern are A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, …, An, then the sum of A1, A3, A5 and A2n-1 will be always equal to the sum of A2, A4, A6 and A2n which is 180!
  • According to Maekawa's theorem, in a flat origami, the number of valley and mountain folds is never the same – it always differs by two!
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