Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell


Paper Lanterns
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of paper lanterns. 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 Japan

A drawing of the the Flat Lantern, and a crease pattern, appeared in 'Kindergarten Shoho' (Preliminary Kindergarten) by Iijima Hanjuro, which was copyrighted on October 4th Meiji 17 (1884) and published by Fukuda Senzo in August of Meiji 18 (1885).


In Western Europe / USA

In his book 'Physiologia Epicuro-Gassendo-Charltonia', published in 1654, Walter Charleton wrote 'fold the Cloth, as Boyes do paper for Lanterns’. Source: Journal of the Northern Renaissance, Issue 8 (2017) - 'Scrutinizing Surfaces ‘A unique instance of art’: The Proliferating Surfaces of Early Modern Paper' by Helen Smith (www.northernrenaissance.org/a-unique-instance-of-art-the-proliferating-surfaces-of-early-modern-paper/).


A design for a fold and slit paper lantern appears in 'Paper Toy Making' by Margaret Campbell, which was first published by Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd in London, probably in 1937, although both the Foreword and Preface are dated 1936, which argues that the book was complete at that date.