Origami Terms Glossary

There are many unusual terms you will run across when talking about origami. Here are some of the more commonly used terms, to help you understand what origami is all about.

Basic Terms

Origami - Origami is the art of paper folding. It was first developed by the Chinese, but was later adopted by the Japanese. Origami brings extra meaning to a piece of paper by shaping it into a form that has symbolism.

Washi - Washi is simply origami paper. The term "wa" means Japanese, and the term "shi" means paper. Japanese origami paper is traditionally 6" on a side and is square, but it can be found in many other shapes and sizes. For example, I enjoy folding mini cranes from 3" square paper.

Types of Paper

Aizome or Aizomechi - Dyed paper, usually dyed in shades of indigo or blue. The word "ai" in Japanese means indigo.

Chiyogami - Brightly patterned paper. In the olden days these patterns were made with wood block printing, but modern times usually involve a printer.

Momi or Momigami - Momi is a special kind of foil origami paper that has crinkles built into it. It gives the paper a textured look and looks especially nice with gold foil.

Shinwazome - These raised pattern papers are hard to fold, but create gorgeous, elegant designs with a textured feel to them. The paper is thicker than usual and the raised printing gives it an embossed feel.

Unryu - Very lovely! This paper name literally means "dragon paper". The paper has swirls in it, representing the smoke and movement of the dragon. Dragons are very good luck in the oriental culture! In authentic papers these swirls are caused by natural kozo fibers, but in modern imitations they add in rayon threads.

Yuzen - Yuzen patterns are the style found on kimono - elegant floral and intricate designs. These origami papers feature the yuzen style designs.

Origami Traditions

Rokoan - A style of folding where several cranes are connected together into a chain.

Tsuru wa sennen - Tsuru wa sennen is the tradition of a fiance couple folding 1,001 cranes together before they were married. This task ensured that the couple was able to work long hours together without difficulty, and could overcome hardship together. The fruits of their labor were proudly displayed at the wedding celebration.

Sembazuru - Sembazuru is the actual act of the couple folding their cranes together.

History of Origami
The Crane - Symbol of Honor and Loyalty
The Meaning and History of Origami
1,000 Cranes at a Wedding
1,000 Cranes for World Peace - Sadako Sasaki
Commonly Used Origami Terms
Meaning of Color in Origami Cranes
Feng Shui and Color
Feng Shui and Earth Wind Fire Water
Christianity in Japan - Weddings and Christmas Origami
First Anniversary Paper

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