What is it?
, or tatogami
a category of origami
in which the end result is a flat container. Because of their often complex appearance, they are also sometimes called "puzzle purses
." There are patterns for folding small tato to hold small things, like buttons, seeds, or coins. There are also medium sized rectangular tatos that can function as a wallet, and larger, stiff-paper square patterns meant to hold kimono
. In fact Japanese not interested in origami might only be familiar with this last meaning of the word. A subset of tato are the orisue
, foldings of a particular type of paper, used in tea and incense-burning ceremonies.
Eric Kenneway, in his book Complete Origami, gives the following description:
"A tato is a traditional kind of folded paper purse in which a Japanese
housewife keeps small items such as needles, ends of thread, buttons and so
on. Some people consider them to be useful for keeping postage stamps, too."
Tato can be flat and practical, or fancy for gift-giving. The most common tato looks kind of geometrically-floral and used for giving small gifts. If made with paper colored on both sides, the fold results in four layers of alternating color.
- A rectangle of color one
- A diamond of color two (extending like lapels to either side)
- A spindle of color one
- A tiny diamond of color two
Please forgive the crude elongated ASCII, but this is what it looks like folded:
,'/ | | \`.
/ / | | \ `.
-` / | | \ '
+ / | | \ +
| / | | \ |
|/ | ^ | \|
/ / / \ \ \
/ | / \ | \
/ / / \ \ \
/ |/ \| \
/ / \\ \
+ +-----------+ +
\ \ / /
\ |\ /| /
\ \ \ / / /
\ | \ / | /
\ \ \ / / /
|\ | . | /|
| \ | | / |
+ \ | | / +
- \ | | / .
`. \ | | / `
\ \ | | / ,'
`.\\ // `
You open this small tato by pulling its lapels which opens the tiny diamond vertically, to reveal whatever little treasure you've placed inside. You close it by pushing its lapels back together. One good instruction set for folding this tato complete with photographs of each step is at http://www.creadoo.com/Content4296
(It's in German, which can be translated nicely by http://www.babelfish.altavista.com/
Tato are one of the oldest types of paperfolding in Japan, dating back to the Heian period, from 794-1185 C.E. In a paper Masao Okamura submitted in 1994 to the Second International Meeting of Scientific Origami, Okamura explains that "tatogami" may have preceded the term "origami" to describe the art in general, but his assertions aren't entirely conclusive.
Masters of tato
Notably, origami master Michio Uchiyama developed styles of four-, six-, and eight-sided tato, made entirely without cutting, which were published by Sori Yahagi in Origami Flower Patterns in 1988.
Michio's son, Kosho, continued developing patterns for tato that focused on twisting and more three-dimensional folds, oddly published much earlier, in his 1962 book simply titled Origami.
I've only folded the common version, using the pattern linked above. I enjoyed its beautiful little unfolding. It makes for a lovely animated transition between the anticipation and the contents, and becomes part of the gift. If you're going to be giving anyone a small present, wrapping it in a tato may improve the experience and make it seem more precious, more considered.
Bitriot says: "re tato: Shit yeah."