Modular origami, otherwise known as unit folding, is a form of origami involving the use of several pieces of paper to create one model. Each individual sheet of paper is folded into a module or unit, and then the pieces are assembled into a flat shape or three-dimensional structure by inserting flaps into pockets created by the folding process. This process creates tension in the model allowing this units to remain together. Modular origami can be viewed as a sub-set of multi-piece origami, and therefore the rules of origami still apply.
The first historical evidence for a modular origami design comes from a Japanese book by Hayato Ohoka published in 1734 called Ranma Zushiki
. It contains a print that shows a group of traditional origami models, one of which is a modular cube
:佐々木 禎子 Sasaki Sadako
, January 7, 1943 – October 25, 1955) was a Japanese girl who lived in Hiroshima
. When the atomic bomb
was dropped on Hiroshima
, Sadako was only a mile away. On February 18, 1955 she was diagnosed with leukemia. The doctor ordered immediate hospitalization, and stated that she would have, at the most, a year to live. In response to her sickness, a gift of one thousand origami
paper cranes that were donated to the hospital from the people of Nagoya. She was inspired by the cranes, and became one of the many patients who began to fold the origami cranes. At the time of her death, she had folded over a thousand cranes.
Two variations of kusudama.
The Japanese kusudama
(薬玉; lit. medicine ball) is a paper model that is created by sewing several pyramidal units together through their points to form a spherical shape. Occasionally, a tassel is attached to the bottom for decoration. They originate from ancient Japanese culture, where they were used for incense
. The word itself is a combination of two Japanese words kusuri
, Medicine, and tama
, Ball. They are now typically used as decorations, or as gifts.