Friday, March 4, 2011

An intriguing art - Origami

Origami (折り紙?, from ori meaning "folding", and kami meaning "paper"; kami changes togami due to rendaku) is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, which started in the 17th century AD and was popularized in the mid-1900s. It has since then evolved into a modern art form. The goal of this art is to transform a flat sheet of material into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques, and as such the use of cuts or glue are not considered to be origami.

The number of basic origami folds is small, but they can be combined in a variety of ways to make intricate designs. The most well known origami model is probably the Japanese paper crane. In general, these designs begin with a square sheet of paper whose sides may be different colors or prints. Traditional Japanese origami, which has been practiced since the Edo era (1603–1867), has often been less strict about these conventions, sometimes cutting the paper or using nonsquare shapes to start with.

Many origami books begin with a description of basic origami techniques which are used to construct the models. These include simple diagrams of basic folds like valley and mountain folds, pleats, reverse folds, squash folds, and sinks. There are also standard named bases which are used in a wide variety of models, for instance the bird base is an intermediate stage in the construction of the flapping bird.

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