Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


Horses and Riders
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the designs known as Ross und Reiter, or in English as Horse and Rider, Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

In his book "Youth Memoirs of an Old Man" (Jugenderinnerungen eines altes Mannes), published by Wilhelm Herz Verlag Berlin in 1870, Wilhelm von Kügelgen describes how his then tutor, the painter Carl Adolf Senff (1785-1863), taught him, together with his siblings Gerhard and Adelheid, and the Leipzig friends Alfred and Julius Volksmann, how, to fold horses and riders out of the traditional "crow" (ie what we now call the Pajarita). Rider and horse are both folded from a separate square of paper, then decorated once the folding is finished.Twenty of these folded figures have survived and are now in the collection of the German National Museum in Nuremberg. These figures can be dated to 1810-12.

The Catalan paperfolder, Joan Sallas, now resident in Germany, who has researched this subject in detail, believes that Senff was not only the folder but also the designer of these figures. If that is the case then these are the oldest representative paperfolds whose designer is known.

There are also six figures in the Saxony Folk Art Museum (Museum fur Sachsische Volkskunst) in Dresden, which were probably folded in about 1845 by Wilhelm von Kügelgen for his son Benno. (https://skd-online-collection.skd.museum/Details/Index/554001)

Horses and Riders folded by Wilhelm von Kügelgen in 1845

Carl Adolf Senff specialised in painting portraits and still life of flowers and fruit. As far as I know no paperfolds are shown in any of his paintings.