Origami paper patterns: what are these?
May 24, 2015 7:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm folding a thousand origami cranes, and I'm starting to get curious about the patterns on the Japanese origami paper I'm using. I think I recognize a couple of them, but I'd like to know the significance of any you recognize: maybe they are traditional textile patterns or have other uses? Are they a certain flower, fruit, or season? Or maybe they are entirely made up for these packs of paper.

Let's assume the first row is 1 through 6, then 7-12, then 13-18 for ease of description. Thanks!
posted by fiercecupcake to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: #7 is the asanoha, which is supposedly derived from cannabis leaves, and #13 is the yabane, from the aft end of archery arrows.
posted by Rash at 8:43 PM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The pattern of white lines in the background of 7 is asa-no-ha, hemp leaves, which are lucky if I remember correctly. The background of 9 is kagome, woven bamboo. 6 is something but I can't remember what. 13 looks sort of like another one I can't remember. I know these from doing sashiko embroidery (as in the link) but they seem to turn up in other places too.
posted by clavicle at 9:12 PM on May 24, 2015

Best answer: The flowers of 12 are plum blossoms (ume), not cherry blossoms.
posted by Soliloquy at 12:35 AM on May 25, 2015

Best answer: Yes, they're traditional patterns. From top to bottom, left to right:
- kanoko (fawn) shibori (tie-dye) as a print, obviously, since it's not fabric
- chrysanthemum lozenges, a very traditional motif, linked to royalty
- cherry blossoms with leaves, spring motif
- butterflies and plum, these often go together, end of winter/start of spring motif
- actually don't know this one!
- plum on rinzu (jacquard)
- asanoha as Rash correctly identified, autumn motif
- more plum, it's an auspicious flower as the first to bloom after winter
- bamboo, quite wintery
- different take on the asanoha pattern
- ditto
- moar plum
- yabane (arrow) motif
- tartan (okay if you want to go actually traditional Japanese it could be meisen)
- dragonflies on grass, very autumnal
- chrysanthemum in circles, meant to resemble mon (family crests), in this case would be a royal family since the chrysanthemum is royal
- that same chrysanthemum lozenge pattern in different color & size

can you tell I had a thing for Japanese motifs back in the day? :)
posted by fraula at 1:24 AM on May 25, 2015 [10 favorites]

Response by poster: Y'all are all amazing. Thank you!
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:14 AM on May 25, 2015

Response by poster: Fraula seems to have got it, but in case anyone else comes along, #5 is still a mystery!
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:18 AM on May 25, 2015

plum on rinzu (jacquard)

From what I can tell, rinzu is a type of silk, and those may be be plums but what's interesting in #6 is the 'magic key' pattern underneath the blossoms. I see this most often in the brocade border of tatami mats, the interlocking pattern is known as sayagata.

Two other traditional patterns not sampled in the OP's selection but worth mentioning here are the seigaiha waves and the karakusa ivy. Never seen the latter on origami paper but it's common in fabrics and once in Takayama I saw these bikes painted in karakusa.

See this Sweet Persimmon blog post for more details about seigaiha, asanoha and sayagata.
posted by Rash at 10:32 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

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