Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

 

 
The Cocotte / Pajarita (20th Century)
 

This page attempts to record what is known about the 20th Century history of the traditional origami design known as the Cocotte in French and the Pajarita in Spanish. Information about the history of the design during the 19th Century is recorded on aseparate page. Please contact me if you know any of the information on his page is incorrect or if you have any other important information that should be added. Thank you.

An introduction to the design and to its various names and forms can be found on the Cocotte / Pajarita (19th Century) page.

That page also contains a section on the Cocotte / Pajarita in Japan.

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1900

In the 20th Century the design first appears in 'Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen: Das Falten' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, which was published by Friedrich Brandstetter in Leipzig in 1900.

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Cocottes / Pajaritas feature in this engraving, entitled 'Velada Intima', which was printed in the issue of La Ilustración Española y Americana for 8th December 1900. Information from Juan Gimeno.

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1902

In response to a misproportioned drawing of the Cocotte / Pajarita published in the December 1901 issue of the Buenos Aires edition of the magazine 'Caras y Caretas', Miguel de Unamuno wrote a letter to the Editor which was published, under the title of 'Por una Pajarita, in issue 178 of 1st March 1902. A full readable version of the article can be found here.

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'Apuntes para un tratado de cocotologia' (Notes for a Treatise on Cocotology) was published as an appendix to Miguel de Unamuno's novel 'Amor y Pedagogia' (Love and Pedagogy) by Henrich y Ca in Barcelona in 1902. The treatise is a whimsical, perhaps tongue-in-cheek / satirical, discussion of the Cocotte / Pajarita design attributed to Don Fulgencio, one of the main characters in the novel itself. Most of it seems to be deliberately obscure. The actual paperfolding content is restricted to a mention in passing of, and an illustration of, the traditional Table and a discussion of the ways in which Cocottes / Pajaritas with different characteristics can be achieved by blintzing the paper various numbers of times. Three variants are described. Adequate instructions for producing the designs are lacking but they can be worked out with a little fiddling around.

1, The basic Cocotte / Pajarita developed from a doubly blintzed square (or from a windmill base).

2, A smaller version developed from a triply blintzed square, which has 'two triangular bags' ie pockets, the openings for which are on top of its head.

3, A still smaller version developed from a quadruply blintzed square, which has a double-layered head (so that there are upper and lower parts to the beak) and pockets in the neck. Only this version is illustrated.

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This satirical postcard from 1902 shows a child folding Cocottes / Pajaritas which then transform into a nymph whispering in his ear. The name Alphonse suggests this postcard was produced in France. However, Juan Gimeno has suggested that the child is in fact a representation of the young King Alfonso XIII of Spain, who was famed for his hectic extra-conjugal love life.

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This postcard from 1902 is part of a set of ten which showed a child posing as an election candidate, in this case with Cocottes.

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1904

Diagrams appear in 'Guia Practica del Trabajo Manual Educativo' by Ezequiel Solana, which was published by Editorial Magisterio Español in Madrid in 1904. The author notes, 'Among all the folding figures none is as well-known as this one. Rare is the child who does not know how to make it.'

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This set of six postcards titled 'Les Cocottes a Bebe' were in circulation in 1904.

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This set of ten postcards featuring Cocottes were also in circulation in 1904. The sepia set is shown in full. Tinted green and red versions of at least one of the cards, and quite possibly all, were also in circulation.

Information from Juan Gimeno and Jaime Coll Guerrero

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This postcard, titled 'Dressage de Cocottes' also dates from 1904.

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These two postcards were also in circulation in and around 1904.

Ma bourse et mon couer ...

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Cocottes et Cocos

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1905

Another one from 1905.

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An article in Issue 238 of the Buenos Aires edition of the magazine 'Caras y Caretas', published on 25th March 1905, mentioned the Cocotte / Pajarita in passing under the name 'gallito de papel.'

Roughly, in English 'We will start with the pajarita, not the one normally known as the gallito de papel ...' The pajarita in question is in fact the Flapping Bird.

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1906

This Japanisme style print titled 'Composition jouets et branche fleurie' by Prosper Isaac dates from 1906.

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This second postcard, also from 1906, contrasts 'Cocottes I used to like' with 'Cocottes I like now'.

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This postcard was also in circulation in 1906.

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A Cocotte was featured on the cover of the issue of 'La Gazette' for 4th March 1906.

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This small metal plaque, which measures 8.5 x 5.3 cm, bears the legend 'Pasquino to his subscriber friends 1856 - 1906' and was presumably given to loyal subscibers of the satirical Italian magazine 'Il Pasquino', published in Turin, in 1906, the last year mentioned. There is a tiny image of a Pajarita / Cocotte in front of a stylus in the bottom left corner. Information from http://www.tuttilibriiomilibro.it/item/la-placchetta-del-pasquino/

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1907

The Pajarita features twice in an article titled 'El trabajo manual escolar' by Vicente Casto Legua in the January 1907 issue of the Spanish magazine 'La Escuela Moderna' which was published in Madrid by Los Sucesores de Hernando, once folded from a Windmill Base and once from a triple blintz fold.

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This German postcard was in circulation in 1907.

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1908

Miguel de Unamuno's book 'Recuerdos de niñez y de mocedad' (Memories of childhood and youth) was published in 1908, but is largely made up of texts composed long before and published as individual articles in the magazine 'El Nervión' in Bilbao, between 1891 and 1892. It contains several passages describing how Don Miguel played with paper boats and birds as a child as well as this passage describing a strange and cruel way of animating a Cocotte / Pajarita using a fly:

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The last ever issue of the Catalan satirical magazine 'La Campana Catalana', published in Barcelona on 29th April 1908, contained a cartoon by Apeles Mestres which pictures several Cocotte / Pajaritas among a a variety of other paperfolding designs.

The one on the left has a colour-change, possibly indicating that it has been folded from a windmill base. The one on the right has pockets beneath the head, indicating it has been folded from a triply blintzed square. It is, perhaps, possible that the one in the centre, which lacks a colour-change, should be read as being folded from a blintzed windmill base.

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This image is a still taken from the short film 'Les Cocottes en Papier' by Segundo de Chomón which was made in 1908.

The whole film, which lasts close to six minutes, and features paper cocottes throughout, can be viewed on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOQzhR-S0o8

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This poster, also from 1908, was used to advertise the film. Information from Juan Gimeno.

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This drawing by Ugo Finozzi, titled 'Colonel Scarpelli and his General Staff' was published in the 1908 Christmas album of the Italian (Florentine) children's magazine 'Giornalino della Domenica'.

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1910

This postcard featuring a 'Coq et Cocotte' dates from 1910.

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A painting depicting Cocottes, by the french painter Étienne-Adolphe Piot (1850-1910), and titled 'A young girl with origami birds', (though that cannot be the original title since the word origami would not have been in use in Europe during his lifetime) appeared in a catalogue for a sale at Sotheby’s auction house in early 2017. I do not know what year this picture was painted.

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This illustrated sheet music cover dates to 1910. (Information from Michel Grand.)

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1911

This New Year greetings postcard, which features Cocottes / Pajaritas in the background, was in circulation 1911

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As was this tinted postcard of a girl in a Newspaper Hat riding a Cocotte /Pajarita.

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1917

This postcard by the illustrator GriFF is known to have been in circulation in 1917. (Information from Michel Grand.) It parodies the Mobilisation Generale ordered by the French government in 1914, seeming to suggesting that prostitutes should be sent to the front, and so possibly dates from that time.

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1920

This postcard shows a scene from the 47th Carnaval of Nice (Carnaval de Nice XLVII). The first such carnaval was held in 1873 so this postcard probably dates from 1920. The parade of figures in he foreground are wearing paper or cardboard hats seemingly made to resemble the head and beak of the Cocotte design.

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1922

'Varaciones' by Ramon Gomez de la Serna, which was published in 1922 by Publicaciones Atenea in Madrid, contains an essay titled 'Unamuno, Venegas y la cocotologia' which is mostly an account of an interview with Miguel de Unamuno about cocotologia. It also contgains this famous cartoon of Unamuno as a Cocotte / Pajarita ...

The opening paragraphs throw some interesting light on how far the folding of pajaritas had become part of Spanish culture at this date:

Roughly translated they say: 'I have already spoken on another occasion about cocotology or the art of making bow ties with paper. Cambó is a cocotologist in whom the hobby is accentuated the more he is worried, and who leaves many pajaritas around him when he goes to Parliament, which he makes starting with a regular one and ending with a very small one, in a descending scale.

Parliament has always been a den of cocotology, and General Martínez Campos had long before Cambó the custom of making pajaritas, with an endless eagerness. Even the candies that were served in Parliament were La Pajarita candies.

Cocotology is an art of sagacity, of sarcasm, of fearful caution. Cultivated like shorthand, at a thousand words per second, it's a dreadful thing, although cultivated as an after-dinner, mien. after thinking of so many vague things, it is something ineffable. ; Oh, those pajaritas that Sil Mario Lanza forged, and in one of which he wrote the most delicate verse to a Spanish child living in the Argentina, to the son of Más y Pi, that good friend of ours who was shipwrecked!'

Cambo is Francesc Cambó i Batlle (1876 – 1947). I do not know who Sil Mario Lanza was. Mas y Pi is presumably Juan Mas y Pi (1878 - 1916).

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1924

These three postcards feature a Cocotte on a float during the 1924 Carnaval de Nice.

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1928

This postcard features a parade of 'Les Cocottes a Cheval' during the 1928 Carnaval de Nice.

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Diagrams for a version of the Pajarita design folded from a blintzed windmill base, and titled the 'Rooster', were included in 'Fun with Paperfolding' by Murray and Rigney, which was published by the Fleming H Revell Company, New York in 1928.

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Instructions for folding a Cocotte / Pajarita appeared in the issue of the Spanish children's magazine Alegria for 9th June 1928.

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1932

Diagrams for the Cocotte and the Le Moineau variant appear in Booklet 2 of 'Images a Plier', a series of 6 booklets published by Librairie Larousse in Paris in 1932.

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The design also appears in Booklet 1 of 'Figuras de Papel', a series of 3 booklets published by B Bauza in Barcelona in 1932.

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1934

In 1934 a 2nd edition of Miguel de Unamuno's novel 'Amor y Pedagogía' was issued by Espasa-Calpe S A in Madrid. The new edition contained a new 'Prologo-epilogo a esta edicion' and a new 'Apendice' to the 'Apuntes para un tratado de cocotología'.

The 'Apendice' contains details of Don Fulgencio's new discovery that it is possible to produce a series of variations of the second version of the Cocotte / Pajarita design from 'Apuntes para un tratado de cocotología' which he interprets as having different sexualities, thus:

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1935

This poster for the 1935 film 'L'Ecole des Cocottes' features the paper version.

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1938

A child riding a Pajarita featured on the cover of this book of drawings made by children during the Spanish civil war, which was published in 1938.

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1939

The design also appears 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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1940

The design appears as 'Pajarita Simple' in 'El Plegado y Cartonaje en la Escuela Primaria' by Antonio M Luchia and Corina Luciani de Luchia, which was published by Editorial Kapelusz in Buenos Aires in 1940.

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1943

The Canarian surrealist painter Oscar Dominguez sometimes included Cocottes / Pajaritas in his paintings. I am not sure of the significance he attached to them. Most of these paintings seem to date from the years around 1943. I have not been able to locate a full catalogue of his work in order to date them more accurately.

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1948

The Cocotte / Pajarita design was featured in one of the stories in the 1948 Rupert Annual and diagrams for the design were also included elsewhere in the book. The story, which was written and illustrated by Alfred Bestall, was called 'Rupert and the Hobby Horse' and the diagrams were headed 'How To Make A Hobby Horse' As far as I know this is the first recorded instance of this particular name being used for this design. A more detailed discussion of the hobby horse name for the Cocotte / Pajarita by David Lister can be found at https://britishorigami.info/academic/lister/hobby_horse.php

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1955

This Italian novel by Giuseppe Marotta was published in 1955 and features the 'Cavalluci di Carta' (Paper Seahorses) of the title on the cover, made by adding an extra fold to the standard Cocotte / Pajarita design. I do not know whether the cover design has any particular significance in relation to the content of the story.

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