Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


The Pig
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design known as the Pig. 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 article 'History of Origami in the East and the West before Interfusion', published in 'Origami 5: Fifth International Meeting of Origami, Science, Mathematics and Education', Koshiro Hatori asserts that, ''Many of the European origami models contained in Krause-Boelte's book (ie 'The Kindergarten Guide', published in 1881) are not included in contemporary Japanese records. The pig, house, sofa (also known as piano or organ), balloon (waterbomb), arrow (paper plane), salt cellar (cootie catcher), bird (pajarita or cocotte) and windmill ... were all born in Europe and imported into Japan along with the kindergarten system.'

I have not been able to verify the inclusion of a description or illustration of the pig in the Kindergarten Guide.


The Pig does not appear in the list of designs in the 'Manuel Pratique de Jardins D'Enfants de Friedrich Froebel' by J F Jacobs and published in 1859 or in the illustrations in 'De Kleine Papierwerkers' by Elise Van Calcar published in 1863, which suggests it was not at that time a mainstream design in the Froebelian portfolio.


A drawing of the Pig does however appear in plate III of Eleenore Heerwart's 'Course of Paperfolding', which was first published in Dutch in 1895 then in English by Charles and Dible in London and Glasgow in 1896.


In their book 'Froebel's Occupations', published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, of Boston and New York in 1896, Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith write: 'There is a sequence of simple figures, all life-forms, and all folded so as to stand erect upon the table, which we call the 'Pig' sequence, and which we have found very useful before the folding of symmetrical forms is begun. ... We call the forms successively, the large tent, the snow bank or hillside, the horse-car, the small tent, the table, the card-case, the fireplace, the box, the two canoes, the salt-cellar, the wood basket and finally the pig, - the crowning glory of the sequence, a star of the purest ray and the first magnitude.'


A drawing of the Pig also appears in Die Frobelschen Beschaftigungen: Das Falten' by Marie Muller-Wunderlich, which was published by Friedrich Brandstetter in Leipzig in 1900.

The first diagrams for the Pig that I am aware of appear in Margaret Campbell's 'Paper Toy Making' published in 1936, although in this case a cut is used to create a wiggly tail. This cut may be one of Margaret Campbell's own creative contributions.