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Origami pronounced or-i-GA-me is the Japanese art of paperfolding Ori is the Japanese word for folding and kami is the Japanese word for paper That is how origami got its name However origami did not start in Japan It began in China in the first or second century and then spread to Japan sometime during the sixth century At first there was very little paper available so only the rich could afford to do paperfolding The Japanese found useful purposes for their origami For example the Samurai sa-MURE-ay would exchange gifts with a form known as a noshi NO-shee This was a paper folded with a strip of dried fish or meat It was considered a good luck token Also the Shinto Noblemen would celebrate weddings by wrapping glasses of sake or rice wine in butterfly forms that had been folded to represent the bride and groom As easier papermaking methods were developed paper became less expensive Origami became a popular art for everyone no matter if they were rich or poor However the Japanese people have always been very careful not to waste anything They have always saved even the tiniest scraps of paper and used them for folding origami models For centuries there were no written directions for folding origami models The directions were taught to each generation and then handed down to the next This form of art became part of the cultural heritage of the Japanese people In 1797 How to Fold 1000 Cranes was published This book contained the first written set of origami instructions which told how to fold a crane The crane was considered a sacred bird in Japan It was a Japanese custom that if a person folded 1000 cranes they would be granted one wish Origami became a very popular form of art as shown by the well-known Japanese woodblock print that was made in 1819 entitled A Magician Turns Sheets of Birds This print shows
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