Origami, as researchers believe, originated in the Heian era (794-1185). Since paper was still very expensive at that time, origami appeared as ceremonial art.
In Shinto temples, special sambo boxes were made of paper into which sacrifices were put – pieces of fish and vegetables. Also for the ceremonies of special paper were made figures of deities, called katahiro.
In the periods of Kamakura (1185-1333) and Muromachi (1388-1573), origami ceased to be only temple art, the highest nobility close to the imperial court began to be interested in it. At this time, the figures are symbolic and are made without cutting, only by folding. For example, notes composed as butterflies are sent as symbols of love and friendship.
During the Azuchi-Momoyama periods (1573-1603) and Edo (1603-1867), thanks to the further development of paper-making technologies, the art of origami became available to wider masses of the population, turning into a rather popular way of spending time.
The followers of Zen Buddhism see in origami one of the ways of spiritual perfection, a method by which with the help of simple symbols one can display the beauty and perfection of the world around.
It was then that most of the classical origami forms appeared, including the famous Japanese crane. Unfortunately, Origami’s heyday coincided with Japan’s self-isolation period. Europeans were able to get acquainted with this distinctive art after Japan came out of self-isolation in 1853.
The explosion of origami popularity occurred after World War II thanks to Akiro Yoshidzawa, who did more than anyone in the world to develop and promote origami. Akiro Yoshidzawa was born in 1911. During World War II he worked at a military factory. Even then, he decided that he would devote his life to origami. Yoshidzawa went through poverty and trials, but, having shown patience and perseverance, he nevertheless achieved his goal, becoming the world-famous master of origami. His contribution to the development of this kind of art is invaluable. He developed hundreds of new figures, left behind compositions of extraordinary beauty and grace.
The system of notation, which he invented, in order to record actions when creating a particular figure, is now accepted in all countries as an international standard of notation.