Origami As Gifts – Past and Present

Back in Japan during the 6th Century AD, origami began to become wildly popular with the ruling and richer classes. Because of the expense of paper, the poorer people, which means most of them, were unable to practice this art form. origami was given as gifts to show affection or as respect between lovers and even from soldier to soldier. A gift of Origami was considered to be a very special gift and was given much respect.

Even now, one of the most popular ways to express love with origami is though the giving of an origami flower, specifically a rose. These are very popular designs that display the creator as a very skilled paper folder.

One of the earliest forms of origami was a very simplified way of wrapping gifts in paper to make the package look nice in Japan around 800 to 1200 AD. This was still limited to the rich and powerful and around the years 1340 to 1575, as paper because cheaper, more and more people began to use origami as a way to present gifts to people.

Samurai warriors followed a very particular form of origami, which gave very strict rules and guidelines on how to fold the paper and the patterns to follow when folding. They would wrap small fish in very well crafted pieces of origami and present them as gifts to fellow warriors as a show of respect and admiration.

A certain school of origami, called the Ogasawaryu School, began around the 13th century AD, has a rich history of traditions when it comes to paper folding. They did what was called Origata, which involves a paper bag containing some form of gift. The bag was folded based on the content of the bag and not just as any arbitrary figure. Origata means the fundamental manners in which you wrap your heart to another.

Another type of origami, which was folded to accompany gifts, was called Tstutsumi. Origami Tstutsumi is the folding of any type of wrapper for gifts of flowers used in religious ceremonies. This was a gesture on the behalf of the gift-giver. A very popular form, during the Kamakura period, 1185-1333 AD, was known as “noshi awabi” which was sun dried thin strip of a specific type of sea snail and wrapped in paper with strings made from trees.

One very famous origami design used as a gift was, and still is, the crane. This form not only carries a lot of history as a gift of blessings and good fortune, but it carries a great myth along with it. If a person were able to fold 1000 cranes from paper, they would be granted their one most desired wish. You can imagine, this is the most ever folded origami design in history. Whether you fold a crane or a simple rose as a gift to another person, the time and effort placed into such an act is sometimes more valuable than the gift it accompanies.