I am always amazed at the incredibly complex shapes and objects a skilled origamist can achieve. Packs of beautifully patterned, coloured papers abound in shops in Japan, and I succumbed to the temptation to buy. But what to do with all the small boats and birds, some slightly wonky, that I made?
In Japan, they string their paper cranes together, turning one small, intricate paper shape into a strikingly beautiful chain.
Strictly speaking, there should be a thousand cranes in a chain. Indeed, the chains are known as Senbazuru (千羽鶴), meaning Thousand Origami Cranes.
In Japan, the crane is deemed to be a mystical and holy creature, said to live for a thousand years. Following on from this, an ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories go further, suggesting a gift of eternal good luck in return for your labours. This makes senbazuru popular gifts for special friends and family, often given as wedding or new baby gifts.
If you are tempted to have a go, here is a short youtube video showing how to make a crane.
Follow the instructions, then simply repeat 999 times, take a long thread, tie a bead to one end to prevent the cranes falling off and thread through the small hole in the centre of each crane, until you have a complete chain. Happy folding!
For a moving blog post about a young Hirishima victim and her faith in paper cranes, click here.
Linked to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Small Subjects.