"Pure, Sacred, Holy" Origami


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 So, what is "pure, sacred" origami?


 Note: This model is not created by me. Neal Elias made this model.

 For the impatient people who don't like reading: 

Pure origami is origami without cutting, made from a single sheet of square paper. For a cool example of pure origami, look here: Making the MIT logo by Brian Chan

For the patient people who crave knowledge (and terrible stories from the sleep deprived mind):

    A long time ago (in a galaxy not so far away) origami was considered "creating art with paper." You were allowed to cut, rip, and wet the paper. You could start with a triangular piece of paper or even a circle. If you wanted to, you could use three or four or even 10 pieces of paper for one model if it fit your fancy. The only rule was do whatever you can to make the model look good. Then the mathematicians came.

    The mathematicians loved rules. Without boundaries, there was little they could do to analyze the origami world. This made them whine and cry and pound their fists on the floor. A few even threatened to hold their breath until their faces turned blue. For the first time ever, civilization gave in to the mathematicians. They said "We will do anything to make you stop whining! Name your demands!" The mathematicians never expected to win, they had no demands, so they gathered together to discuss how they should revolutionize origami. If you know anything about mathematicians, you will know that this took a very long time. Many decades, in fact.  By the time they all agreed on the conditions, which was made easier because some of them died of old age, civilization forgot the tantrum they had thrown decades ago. The rest of the world continued to fold cut and tear paper just as they had been doing for centuries, ignoring the demands of whining mathematicians.

    Naturally, the mathematicians threw a tantrum again. Because their lungs weren't what they used to be, every one of them collapsed wheezing. This got civilization's attention. Civilization bent over their dying grandfathers and cried "Noooo!! We could have prevented this! How can we prevent these deaths from being in vain?"

     The mathematicians gasped with their final breaths "Square paper...no cutting...a single sheet...mummy's curse!!" and with that, they passed away.

    Out of respect for the dead mathematicians (and maybe some fear about the curse) a lot of the origami community adopted the idea that origami should be done with a single sheet of square paper, and cutting was off limits. 

    I call this kind of origami "purist origami". The origami done with all these restrictions is often harder than origami created while breaking any of these rules. There is also a certain beauty that comes from seeing a complex model come out of such a simple shape. For an example of this beauty, see the video at this link: Making the MIT logo by Brian Chan

    Many other forms of origami break these standard rules. For example, modular origami (my favorite kind of origami) uses many sheets of paper, sometimes even thousands. Other great models are made from strips of paper or rectangles of assorted size. My philosophy is, if you can make a model without breaking any of the rules, by all means do so. Otherwise, it is an art, so take any artistic liberties you please.