Origami phoenix: 10 hours, 1361 folds

Since we had a post on origami yesterday, alert reader Myxoldian called our attention in a comment to origami master Satoshi Kamiya, who fashions paper animals, real and imaginary.  In this video Kamiya takes ten hours to fold a phoenix out of a single large, uncut piece of paper, a task requiring 1361 folds.

You can see Kamiya’s other origami work here. Click on the black-and-white images to see the work large and in color.  Here’s one of his works, a lion:


  1. physicalist
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    1362 folds? And here I thought the record was thirteen folds and required ten miles of paper at MIT.

    • Scote
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      That’s for folding something in half, then half again, then half again–in a geometric progression of thicknesses. That is different than the number of creases in an origami model.

      The model really is spectacular. I’ve seen examples of similar complexity on the cover of fancy origami books that contain no instructions. I never knew how long such models took–and that is by someone who is an expert. Even with complete instructions it would take me weeks to make an inferior version.

  2. Marella
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    That is amazing.

  3. Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink


  4. Nom de Plume
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be a speciesist, but homo sapiens rules.

    • Posted January 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      In the sense that it would take a lion much longer to fold a piece of paper into a human, but can you run down a gazelle?

      • Aidan Karley
        Posted January 8, 2012 at 4:44 am | Permalink

        but can you run down a gazelle?

        Hmmm, I’m sitting here looking at rocks in southern Tanzania, pretty close to the homeland of humankind. Gate security on the site is provided by a cadre of Masai (from pretty much on top of the Olduvai Gorge). While I doubt that my beer-bellied form could effectively run down and capture a gazelle, it’s a racing certainty that one or two of the Masai cadre could do so, operating in concert if necessary.
        The big cats, in fact cats without exception that I can think of, are ambush and sprint hunters ; Homo seems to be, in significant part, a cursorial endurance hunter with profound adaptations to pack living and pack hunting.
        Off the top of the head, I can’t recall how many of the world’s records for long-distance running are held by people from this part of the world, but it’s a lot. Given the distribution of population, it’s probably disproportionately many.

        • Kharamatha
          Posted January 8, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          Humans, until someone shows me the contrary, seem by and large THE superior endurance runners and long range striders. We can even eat and drink while running.

          A horse, running a course long enough, can be passed by a moderatly fit and tall human. A large cat so much earlier.

        • Notagod
          Posted January 8, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

          But, what lion would worship a couple of crossed sticks after the meat had long since been stripped from them?

          • Kharamatha
            Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

            Savannah catnip.

  5. francoise
    Posted January 8, 2012 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Oh, if you are interested in Origami, I am sure you know Robert Lang… He explains everything here…

    …except how you fold it…

    If you want to learn how to fold it, you have to go to his books… and start painfully slowly, step, by step… it is really, really hard…

    But fortunately, there are also video tutorials on youtube, by tadashi mori and jo nakashima, for example…

  6. francoise
    Posted January 8, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink


    this also is a nice Origami gallery…
    Sipho Mabona

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