Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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Paper Birds
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of folded paper birds. 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.

There are separate pages for Paper Peacocks and Paper Penguins.

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The Paper Crane or Orizuru - 1603 onwards

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In a letter sent home to his mother from his school on the Isla Real de Leon, dated 10th July 1757, schoolboy Guillermo Pen wrote 'Con esta estratagema les hago callar; y despues para hacerme amigo de ellas, a unos les hago cometas, a otros barcas, navios, pajaros, y otras muchos cosas, todo de papel.' (With this ploy I silence them; and then to make friends with them, I make kites for some, for other boats, ships, birds, and many other things, all of paper.) His letter can be found in 'Entretenimiento de Los Ninos' by Monsieur Rochon, published in Madrid in both Spanish and French in 1779.

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Around 1790 Juan González del Castillo (1763-1800) premiered the sainete 'Los cómicos de la legua', a work in which the character Pasqual says 'although I went to school more than three years and a half, I only learned how to make paper hats and birds of paper'.

Lacking a picture, we cannot unfortunately know which type of 'pajaras de papel' (paper bird) or which type of 'montera' (paper hat) is being referred to here.

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Designs for two birds, a crane made from the irregular slit octagon base, and a chicken made from the irregular slit octagon base, appear in the 'Kan No Mado', which is usually dated to 1845.

Crane (a standing version, not the traditional Orizuru design)

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Chicken

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The Flapping Bird - 1885 onwards

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'La Nature' of 28th September 1889 contained an article headed 'Recreation Scientifiques' and subheaded 'La Grenouille Japonaise en Papier' (The Japanese Paper Frog) which mentions the Paris Exposition of 1889 and states (here in translation) 'We also noticed in the exhibition other designs among which were the crab from red paper, the junk and the hat of Daimios (demon), the parrot etc.,' Lacking an illustration, there is no way of knowing which design of parrot is being referred to.

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The Nesting Crane - 1931 onwards

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The Fat Sparrow - 1931 onwards

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The Dove -

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Instructions for making several other kinds of paper bird also appear in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was first published in Japan in 1931

The Nightingale

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The Crow

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The Egret

(Pictures only - no folding diagrams)

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The Swallow / The Copper Pheasant

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The Crow with Legs

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Simple Crane

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Le Moineau 1932

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A design for a Rooster, 'El gallo', can be found in 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1939.

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The extended version of 'El Mundo de Papel' by Dr Nemesio Montero, which was published by G Miranda in Edicions Infancia in Valladolid in 1951 contains several designs for paper birds, 'La Golondrina al Vuelo' (The Swallow in Flight), La Paloma (The Dove), El Cisne (The Swan) and El Pato (The Duck).

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There is a resemblance between this design and the Swallow from Isao Honda's 'Origami Part One' pictured above.

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La Paloma

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El Cisne

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El Pato

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