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THE COMPLETE BOOK OF Step-by-Step Instructions in Over 1000 Diagrams ji Robert J. Lang .\ Since the 1950s, origami has been making a return. Several Amer- ican folders now rank among the world’ leading creators of original figures. Why should this be so? I believe that it is because of a coinci- dence; the confluence of two different ideas of beauty. Origami appeals to the Japanese sense of understatement. Just as a three-line haiku evokes 'a setting or a season, a few brush strokes suggest an entire bamboo plant. An art of suggestion, origami im- plies without announcing outright. Origami is, likewise, an art of economy. A few simple creases evoke an animal; modify the sequence slightly, and an entirely new beast appears. To the Japanese sensibility, the success of a completed ori- gami model depends on the creator’s eye for form, structure and proportion. Does it capture the creature’ true form, the placement of its head and limbs, the shape of its shoulders and hips? Does it suggest the animal’s motion, its stride, glide or gallop? And finally, is the paper figure a mere likeness of the original, or does it delve deeper, into its essential character? In America, origami was taken up not by artists but by scientists, engineers and architects. Enter, in the 1950s, a new set of aesthetic standards, the values of the geometer. The mathematician’ idea of beauty draws its inspiration from an ideal world, a world of reg- ularity, symmetry and order. Beauty is identified by simplicity and economy: Euclid’ axioms, the Pythagorean theorem, harmonic mo- tion. Freed from the constraints of the physical world, mathematics partakes of the world of dreams. Mathematical beauty is a geometric solid floating in space, gravity defied. It is the simplicity of "= ~1, the elegance of the shortest mathematical proof. To the mathematician, the beauty of origami is its simple geome- try. Latent in every piece of paper are undisclosed geometric pat- terns, combinations of angles and ratios that permit the paper to assume interesting and symmetric shapes. The mathematician asks: Does this model make the greatest use of the existing geometry? Is the folding procedure elegant and pristine with crisp lines, compact folds, simple and regular proportions? Is there no wasted paper, awkward thickness or arbitrary fold? Is utility served in each step? Robert Lang’ origami models exemplify both Japanese and American standards of beauty. They are anatomically accurate (an American demand, not a Japanese one) yet they suggest more than they show. Ingeniously crafted, like miniature machines, they reveal a protean inventiveness. (His exploration of action folds, for exam- ple, has no parallel.¥ While his folding techniques are often unex- pected, they are never arbitrary, and on occasion they reveal their logic only after the entire figure has been completed. Tn common with creative artists of any epoch, Lang seizes upon simple, timeless forms and manipulates them so that they emerge as never before. To fold his origami models is to experience the beauty shared by the mathematician and the Japanese brush painter. —Perer ENGEL Foreword To Jim Carolyn Greg Marla and always, Diane Copyright © 1988 by Robert J Lang. All rights reserved under Pan American and International Copyright Conventions ‘The Complete Book of Origami: Step-by-Step Instructions in Over 1000 Diagrams 1 37 Original Models is a new work, first published by Dover Publications, Inc. in 1988. Manufactured in the United States of America Dover Publications, Inc, 31 East 2nd Street, Mineola, N.Y. 11501 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Lang, Robert J. + ‘Thecomplete book of origami: step-by-step instructions in over 1000 diagrams / Robert J. Lang. bcm, Bibliography: p ISBN 0-486-25857-8 (pbk.) 1, Origami. 1. Title. ‘TTSI0L26 1988 17367 982—del9 88,28260 cp