The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Lotus
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design known as the Lotus. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.


In Japan (and in publications by Japanese authors)


A drawing of the Lotus appears in 'Yochien Ombutsu No Zu', a publication of kindergarten material issued by the Tokyo Women's Normal School in 1878.



A drawing of the Lotus appears in 'Kindergarten Shoho' (Preliminary Kindergarten) by Iijima Hanjuro, which was copyrighted on October 4th Meiji 17 (1884) and published by Fukuda Senzo in August of Meiji 18 (1885).



A drawing of the Lotus appears in a monozukushi-e print, by an unknown artist, but said to be from the Meiji era. I have temporarily assigned it the date of 1912, the last year of that era, pending the discovery of more accurate information.



A drawing of the Lotus appears in an illustration by Takei Takeo in a 1927 issue of the children's magazine 'Kodomo No Kuni' (The Land of Children).


This design also appears:


As 'A Lotus Flower' in 'Pocket Guide to Origami: Bow-Wow Book', by Isao Honda, which was published by the Asahi Origami Club, Tokyo in 1959.



As 'Lotus Blossom', in 'The World of Origami' by Isao Honda, which was published in the USA by Japan Publications Trading Company in 1965.

The Independent Creativity chapter mentions that it is possible to create a 'Rose' by placing one Lotus blossom inside another, the inner blossom being folded from a smaller shert of paper.


In Western Europe / The USA


The Lotus appears as a napkin fold in 'Des Kindes Erste Beschaftigungsbuch' by E Barth and W Niederley, which was first published in Bielefeld and Leipzig, and the foreword of which is dated October 1876.



An article by Alber-Graves explaining how to fold the Lotus appeared in the French children's magazine 'Mon Journal' in or around 1900. I have not been able to locate the article but there are references to it in two other articles by the same author in the same magazine.



The design appears as 'Fleur de lotus' in 'Les Petits Secrets Amusants' by Alber-Graves, which was published by Librairie Hachette in Paris in 1908.



The Catholic magazine 'La Vie en Patronage' of 1st January 1921 contained an article by Alber explaining how to fold the Lotus.



The 1958 Rupert Annual contained instructions for folding 'Rupert's Paper Frog and Water-Lily'



This design also appears, as 'The Water Lily', in 'Secrets of Origami', by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne Book Company in London in 1964, where itt is said to be Japanese.



The design also appears, as 'Lotus Flower', in 'Your Book of Paperfolding' by Vanessa and Eric de Maré, which was published by Faber and Faber in London in 1968, where it was is to be a traditional Japanese design.