Giang Le

Using just paper and their own hands, Vietnam’s origami enthusiasts produce marvellous creations

Unicorn by artist Hoang Tien Quyet

Origami: Love and loss
Origami, the ancient art of Japanese paper folding, continues to draw new fans around the world. Like many other ancient folk games, origami was passed down orally. It was not until 1797 that the first book about origami was published. Written by Akisato Rito it was titled “Sembazuru orikata”, or “a thousand cranes”.

Paper cranes are the best known origami creation not just because cranes are regarded as bringers of health and good fortune in Japan, but also because of a touching story. Following the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, an 11-year-old girl named Sadako Sasaki contracted leukaemia. Sadako hoped to fold 1,000 paper cranes in order to wish for good health. While Sadako died before finishing the 1,000 cranes, her classmates finished the project in her memory. The story spread throughout Japan and people started to
send Sadako’s family paper cranes as wishes for a peaceful world in which children would be safe from nuclear bombs. This simple and deeply moving story introduced the art of origami to youngsters all over the world, including in Vietnam.

The orchid by artist Nguyen Hung Cuong

Origami societies in Vietnam
Origami clubs arose in Vietnam’s major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang. Here, young people gather to enjoy this meticulous and methodical craft. In a world full of complex technology, origami is meditative and relaxing.

Gold fish by artist Hoang Tien Quyet

Origami is an art form that encourages manual skill, logic, perseverance, patience and creativity. Every Sunday in Hanoi, Young people who are fond of origami gather in the Vietnam – USSr Friendship
palace to create and share their fantastic creations. Some unique Vietnamese designs, including “Saint Michael – general of angels” by Tran Trung Hieu, “Gorilla” by Nguyen Hung Cuong and “Lion” by Hoang Tien Quyet were displayed in the international exhibition “From surface to structure” hosted in New York in July 2014

Origami meets Dó paper
Many types of paper can be used for origami depending on the desired result. Some Vietnamese enthusiasts use traditional dó paper to produce origami with a Vietnamese flair. While Japanese artists traditionally favour pure white paper that is soft and durable, French artists prefer shrivelled paper. Many Vietnamese artists love naturally coarse paper. Made by hand, dó paper is tough, malleable and elastic. its creamy colour
lends the finished works a rustic and natural appearance.

Dancing Swan by artist Hoang Tien Quyet

The use of dó paper for origami reveals the creativity of young Vietnamese origami artists eager to help revive Vietnam’s traditional papermaking craft and promote Vietnamese origami to the world.