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Last updated 19/2/2023


The Pipe Cap / Bishop's Mitre / Bishop's Crown / Traditional Ingot
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the origami design known as the Pipe Cap / Bishop's Mitre or Bishop's Crown napkin fold / Traditional Ingot. 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.

When folded from a napkin, the modern version of this design is usually called the Bishop's Mitre.



As far as I know diagrams for this design, called the Mitre and folded from a napkin, first appear in 'The Practical Housewife' by Robert Kemp Philp, which was published in London by Ward & Lock in 1855. My thanks to Joan Sallas for this reference.



The same design, this time folded from a 2:3 sheet of paper, and called 'De pijpendop' (the pipe cap) appears in 'De Kleine Papierwerkers 1: Wat men van een stukje papier al maken kan: Het vouwen' (The Small Paperwork 1: What one can make from a piece of paper: Folding) by Elise Van Calcar, which was published by K H Schadd in Amsterdam in 1863. The design is also called a 'kleine bisschopsmutje' (little bishop's hat) in the text.

In this dialogue, from page 9, Aunt Mina says, roughly, 'Hey brother, can you still make the pipecap that old cousin Koosje taught us as children?', to which he replies, '... I still see her sitting there that evening when she taught us to make a grasshopper (ie the Cocotte) out of paper. I left all my toys for that thing ...'.



This design also appeared, as a serviette fold, the 'Bishop's Mitre', in 'More Paper Magic' by Will Blyth, which was published by C Arthur Pearson in London in 1923.



Diagrams for a very similar design appeared under the title of 'Bishop's Crown' in 'Origami (Part 1)' by Isao Honda, which was published in Japan in 1931.



'Party Lines' by Robert Harbin, which was published by the Olbourne Book Co in London in 1963, contained diagrams showing how to fold 'The Mitre' from a napkin.



In 1997 the Hong Kong Origami Society published diagrams drawn by Janson Chow which presented what was essentially the same design as a Yuan Bao or folded paper version of a traditional gold ingot.