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The Sampan / The Rainy Day Sampan / The Inside Out Boat
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design known as the Sampan. 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.

Oddly the simpler version of this design, the Inside Out Boat, appears later inn the historical record than the more complex version, the Sampan.

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The Sampan / The Rainy Day Sampan

In Japan

1912

A drawing of the Sampan 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.

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In Western Europe / the USA

1937

The Sampan appears, under the title the 'Lifeboat', in Margaret Campbell's 'Paper Toy Making' which was first published by Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd in London, probably in 1937, although both the Foreword and Preface are dated 1936, which argues that the book was complete at that date.

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The Sampan design also appears:

1948

As the 'Chinese Fishing Boat', along with it's Rainy Day Sampan variant, in 'The Art of Chinese Paper folding for Young and Old' by Maying Soong, which was published by Harcourt Brace and Company of New York in 1948.

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1956

As 'The Life Boat' in 'Paper Magic' by Robert Harbin, which was published by Oldbourne in London in 1956

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1975

In the 1975 Rupert Annual as 'Rupert's Chinese Boat'.

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The Inside Out Boat

1948

As far as I know this simpler version of the design first appears, as the 'Row Boat' in 'The Art of Chinese Paper folding for Young and Old' by Maying Soong, which was published by Harcourt Brace and Company of New York in 1948.

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1951

The design also appears in 'Origami: Folding Paper for Children' by Claude Sarasas, which was first published by Kodansha in Tokyo in 1951.

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