Research: Kusudama

In my feedback for assignment five, my tutor suggested that I include some of my kusudama research on my blog.  He also suggested that it would be worth using that research to tweak my essay slightly.

As most people will be aware, the art of origami comes from ancient Japanese culture.  In its earliest history, it was used for things like purification rituals and ceremonial occasions, as well as to mark sacred objects (Origami Resource Center, 2017).

Over time, the knowledge of origami spread worldwide until most people were familiar with it (after all, who hasn’t folded a paper aeroplane at some point in their life?).  Today, origami continues to evolve and develop, with ever more complex styles appearing (e.g., mathematical origami, wet folding origami, modular origami and origami tessellations).  Interestingly, the advent of the internet seems to have helped the spread of origami because instructions (whether in the form of simple line drawings or complex photographs) can be shared so easily (e.g., Kusudama Me).

With regards to the specific history of kusudama, David Lister (no date) wrote on the British Origami Society website that:

“Kusudama (medicine ball) is believed to have originated in the Heaian Period (794 – 1192). At first fragrant woods and herbs were placed in a small cloth bag, which was decorated with blossoms of sobu or iris and other flowers. Long silk threads of five different colours were attached to it. This was hung in the house on May 5 to dispel evil spirits and disease.”

And that today:

“There is no set form of kusudama and it has become the subject of individual creativity in the same way as any other kind of origami. In its simplest form it is a number of origami flowers threaded together by their lower ends and then drawn together to form a ball…In recent years, however, kusudama have taken the form of modular creations, made in the manner of polyhedra.”

It is my understanding that kusudama were the precursor to modular origami and that the two forms are distinguished largely by their method of construction; kusudama are strung, stitched or pasted together, whilst modular origami are folded together (Wikipedia, 2017).

Having spent a little bit of time thinking about how I could incorporate this research into my essay for assignment five, I decided to add a few extra lines in the “Geological kusudama” section of the essay.  Firstly, I added a line regarding the classification of the objects as kusudama, and secondly, I added a paragraph questioning why the unknown artist might have chosen to use the kusudama as their artistic medium.  I postulate that it may be a deliberate reference to digital evolution.

References

Lister, D. (no date)  Kusudamas [online].  Available at: http://www.britishorigami.info/academic/lister/kusudamas.php.  Accessed on 10/07/2017.

Origami Resource Center (2017) History of Origami [online]. Available at: http://www.origami-resource-center.com/history-of-origami.html.  Accessed on 10/07/2017.

Wikipedia (2017) Kusudama [online].  Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kusudama.  Accessed on 10/07/2017.

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