Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell



The 1885 engraving of the Flapping Bird

  The history of paperfolding is a fascinating one.

This page links to a brief Timeline of Origami History and other pages collecting together more detailed historical information about some traditional designs, early manuscripts and books. There is also a bibliography of the published designs of Robert E Neale.

Folk art objects made of paper are ephemeral and the record we have of them at an early date relies largely on their chance appearance in books, fabrics, drawings and paintings. It is likely that many paperfolding designs are much older than the first evidence for their existence. Unfortunately, of course, we cannot know, even approximately, how much older they might actually be.

While I have long been interested in origami history there are many paperfolders who know much more about the subject than I do and these notes should not be taken as being comprehensive. I have, however, tried to make them as accurate as possible by basing them on verifiable sources rather than myth or imagination.

A Timeline of Paperfolding History
Early Books and Manuscripts   Designs / Topics   Biography and Bibliography
  Trattato delle piegature by Mattia Giegher, 1629     The Buddha Papers     Robert E Neale - A bibliography
  The Senbazuru Orikata, 1797     The Business Card or Playing Card Cube        
  The Kan No Mado, 1845     The Catherine of Cleves Box        
  Cassell's Complete Book of Sports and Pastimes, 1882     Ceremonial Wrappers / Tsutsumi        
  Houdini's Paper Magic, 1922     Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) / John Tenniel        
  Paper Magic and More Paper Magic by Will Blyth, 1923     The Chinese Junk        
  Fun with Paper Folding by Murray and Rigney, 1926     Consequences and Le Cadavre Exquis        
  Winter Nights Entertainment by R M Abrahams, 1932     The Fifth Pig and other propaganda Fold-Ups        
  Diversions and Pastimes by R M Abrahams, 1933     The Flapping Bird        
  Meditations on a Waterbomb by Kenneth M Kawamura, 1977     Froebelian Paperfolding and the Kindergarten        
          Komoso / Yakko-san        
          Horses and Riders        
          Ocho and Mecho Butterflies        
          The Orizuru or Paper Crane        
          The Pajarita / Cocotte / Krähe / Hobby Horse        
          The Paper Boat        
          Paper Hats        
          The Paper Plane        
          Folded Patenbriefs / Baptismal Certificates        
          The Game of Paper, Scissors, Stone        
          Pinwheel / Puzzle Purse / Thread Container / Menko        
          The Salt Cellar / Fortune Teller / Cootie Catcher        
          Symmetrical Inkblots / Klecksography / Rorschach Test        
          The Tematebako