The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Paperfolding in Prints by Ogata Gekko
 

Ogata Gekko was born in 1859 and died in 1920.

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Undated

This undated print, titled Bull, is taken from the album Fujin Juunishi (Women and the Zodiac). It shows a piece of paper, possibly a letter, a poem or a prayer, knotted around a stick on a stand. I am not sure of the significance of this.

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1891

This print from 1891, titled 'Orimono', from the series 'Fujin Fuoku Zukushi' (The Manners and Customs of Ladies) shows a woman folding a tsutsumi (formal wrapper for flowers). Two Paper Cranes appear above the cartouche and two other paperfolds are partially concealed behind it. The yellow one appears to be a Boat with Sail. I cannot identify the blue one.

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1898

This first print shows women doing embroidery. The various items at the bottom right are arranged on a sheet of paper in which they will be folded up when put away.

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I am indebted to David Humphries of http://www.ogatagekko.net/ for providing me with a high resolution image of this second print and providing the following information. He says 'this print is part of a small format album titled Nihon Jo Reikshiki (loosely Etiquette for young Women). The album itself was published by Matsuki Heikichi in 1898. This album was presented in "Dai San-kai Naikoku Kangyo Hakuran-kai" (the 3rd Trade Exposition in Japan) and received the excellence award for the specialty item art printings.'

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From top right to bottom left the paperfolds shown in the detail are:

Paper Cranes and The Long Lantern

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Some kind of base - possibly the bird base?

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A flat folded figure - probably a bird of some kind? - and possibly the Tenjin Shrine

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A wrapper decorated with a butterfly? and a Knotted Letter

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Possibly a decorative version of the Incense Packet

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The Art of Paper Folding in Japan', a magazine article written by Frederick Starr and published in the issue of the tourist magazine 'Japan' for October 1922. A low res image of the print accompanies the article. Starr says that the print shows 'a fat lantern, a slender lantern'. However, I can only see one type of lantern in the picture.

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