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Amazing Mythological Origami Creations You Have to See to Believe

In this post we’re going to take a look at a ton of different mythological creatures and figures from cultures all over the world.

First up is an origami version of Sleipnir, the 8-legged horse from Norse mythology. Sleipnir is the “best of all horses” and Odin’s personal steed.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/56997154@N06/20212216272/

Sleipnir, Designed by Satoshi Kamiya and Folded by Nguyen Nam Son

Diagrams available in Works of Satoshi Kamiya 2, 2002 – 2009

 

Next is another excellent design by Satoshi Kamiya. This is a Minotaur, a creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull. The Mintoaur could be found at the centre of the Labyrinth that was constructed by Daedalus and Icarus. The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Greek hero Theseus.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74390897@N02/6902740375/

Minotaur, Designed by Satoshi Kamiya and Folded by Thamar van Dijk

Diagrams available in Works of Satoshi Kamiya 2, 2002 – 2009

 

This 3-legged crow is found in the mythologies of several different East Asian cultures. In Japan it’s called Yatagarasu and is thought to be a guide from heaven.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/128874294@N04/26984024326/

Yatagarasu, Designed by Satoshi Kamiya and Folded by J.W. Park

Diagrams available in Tanteidan Magazine #157

 

Next is another design from Satoshi Kamiya that I really like. This is a Jackalope, a creature from North American folklore. The Jackalope is a mixture of a jack rabbit and an antelope. Combining both these animals gives you the name Jackalope.

I really like how soft this one looks and especially like how the paper on the chest almost looks like actual fur.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kobashi_san/16284092128/

Jackalope, Designed by Satoshi Kamiya and Folded by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Diagrams available in Tanteidan Magazine #149

 

Next we have this amazing origami Valkyrie. Valkyries are female warriors from Norse mythology who choose those who live and those who die in battle.

This one is folded from a single square of 70 cm x 70 cm sized paper!

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/133041586@N06/33756294725/

Valkyrie, Designed and Folded by Bart Davids

Crease pattern available from Bar Davids’ Flickr

 

Pretty much everyone knows about the legend of the genie in the lamp. This amazing genie is folded from a single sheet of paper! When you use paper that’s a different colour on each side you end up with different colours for the clothing, lamp and genie. I have absolutely no idea how someone can design something like this with only folded paper.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunburst2001/10075847913/

Genie, Designed and Folded by Hubert Villeneuve

Instructions not available

 

A Cockatrice is essentially a dragon-like creature with the head of a rooster from English myth. Here’s a fantastic paper Cockatrice design from Finward.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastianorigami/3986752211/

Cockatrice, Designed and Folded by Finward

Instructions not available

 

This next creation is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. This is a Nue, a legendary Japanese spirits called Yokai. A Nue has the body of a racoon dog, the head of a monkey, the legs of a tiger and a snake for a tail.

This origami version is folded from 26 individual squares of paper which is how Hiroaki Kobayashi is able to get so many different colours in this incredible design.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kobashi_san/30772809552/

Nue, Designed and Folded by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Instructions not available

 

Next is a paper version of a Chinese guardian lion statue. This whole model is folded from one 60 cm x 60 cm square of paper. It’s also completely 3D with no gaps or holes in the design as well!

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/95668554@N06/20615217582/

Chinese Guardian Lion, Designed and Folded by Hyun Seok Kang

Instructions not available

 

Here we have Lord Rama, the most virtuous hero from Hindu myth although many people think he’s based on an actual historical figure.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vasil_nik/31003297650/

Lord Rama, Designed by Neelesh Kumar and Folded by Никита Васильев

Crease pattern available from Neelesh Kumar’s Flickr

 

There are tons of different unicorn designs out there and we’ve posted about them before. This design though stands out to me because it’s so different from most of the others.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/guillermo_rodriguez/15237896983/

Unicorn, Designed by Andrey Ermakov and Folded by Guillermo R. Parrondo

Diagrams available in Olympiad 2014

 

This Pegasus is designed by Satoshi Kamiya although Tkak Sakai modified the head with an original design. It’s nice to see the model from two different angles too.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/140597444@N03/32321051506/

Pegasus, Designed by Satoshi Kamiya and Folded by Tkak Sakai

Diagrams available in Works of Satoshi Kamiya 1995-2003

 

This Centaur design is absolutely fantastic, especially how the man’s torso is a different colour from the body of the horse. This particular model was part of a Korean origami exhibition.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/origami_mhg/17543546288/

Centaur, Designed and Folded by Yoo Tae Yong

Instructions not available

 

Gen Hagiwara designed this really cute paper version of the Zodiac sign Capricorn. The crumpled up ball of paper it’s sitting on is a very nice touch. It’s based off of his previous Hippocampus design.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gen_hagiwara/34015737384/

Capricorn, Designed and Folded by Gen Hagiwara

Instructions not available

 

He also designed this really cute Kirin. Kirin is the Japanese name for the Chinese mythological creature known as a Qilin. Kirins are good omens that are thought to signify periods of prosperity or tranquility. They’re often depicted with fire all over their bodies. It would be cool to see a flaming origami kirin some time but you’d have to photograph that really quick before it burned up.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gen_hagiwara/34629069625/

Kirin, Designed and Folded by Gen Hagiwara

Instructions not available

 

There are a few really good fallen angel designs out there but this one is especially great. I especially love how real the hood and sleeves look.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alex_mironenko/33130516186/

Fallen Angel, Designed by Yoshimasa Tsuruta and Folded by Alex Mironenko

Instructions not available

 

Next is this awesome looking Basilisk. A Basilisk is a creature from Greek mythology that can turn people to stone by looking at them. Traditionally they look like reptiles or serpents but sometimes they look similar to the Cockatrice like you see here. The scales on the tail here look really great and must have taken a lot of time and patience to fold.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bodorigami/32280883524/

Basilisk, Designed and Folded by Bodo Haag

Crease pattern available from Bodo Haag’s Flickr

 

This next creature is a Karasu Tengu from Japanese folklore. Tengu are a type of Shinto god and Karasu Tengu are a more bird-like kind of Tengu. The name Karasu Tengu translates as “Crow Tengu”.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/126871950@N04/32939275562/

Karasu Tengu, Designed by Kashiwamura Takuro and Folded by Ivan Svatko

Crease pattern available in Tanteidan magazine #132

 

Next is one of the most unique phoenix designs I’ve seen made by a Korean origami artist. It’s folded from a single square of 60cm x 60cm paper.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yesutis1/33882333032/

Phoenix, Designed and Folded by Choi Ju Young

Instructions not available

 

Cerberus is the 3-headed legendary dog from Greek mythology that guards the entrance to the underworld to prevent the dead from leaving. Satoshi Kamiya has an excellent Cerberus design and in this particular one I really like how you can see the curled paper that makes the eyes on the heads.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/145808411@N05/30245484623/

Cerberus, Designed by Satoshi Kamiya and Folded by Vít Masopust

Diagrams available in Works of Satoshi Kamiya 2, 2002 – 2009

 

This excellent paper bird is the only Roc design I’ve seen. The Roc is a giant eagle-like bird-of-prey from Persian mythology. This one is folded from a single 50cm x 50cm square of paper.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/88586913@N00/2446980344/

Roc, Designed and Folded by Roman Diaz

Instructions not available

 

This next creation is definitely one of the most unique looking origami designs I’ve ever seen. This Bael, a demon and one of the 7 princes of Hell. Some think Bael is also Satan’s main assistant. Since you’ve probably never seen or heard of Bael here’s an illustration from Wikipedia.

As you can see, Hiroaki Kobayashi has recreated this perfectly with folded paper. His version of Bael is folded using 15 different sheets of paper which like in his Nue design is how he can get so many different colours into the design. I really like the frog part of this too.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kobashi_san/33932324900/

Bael, Designed and Folded by Hiroaki Kobayashi

Instructions not available

 

Hubert Villeneuve designed this absolutely fantastic Harpie and it’s folded from a single square of paper too! This particular model is now part of a permanent exhibit in Zaragoza. I especially love all the detail down the back of the model. It definitely looks very bird-like, especially with those tail feathers.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunburst2001/30870774805/

Harpie, Designed and Folded by Hubert Villeneuve

Instructions not available

 

Miyamoto Chuya’s Grim Reaper is a pretty famous design and here’s one expertly folded by Tomasz Krawczyk. If you use two coloured paper, ideally one side black and one side white you end up with different colours for the cloak and all the skeleton parts which is pretty cool.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/120745382@N02/14455857494/

Grim Reaper, Designed by Miyamoto Chuya and Folded by Tomasz Krawczyk

Video instructions available from Mariano Zavala B.’s YouTube channel

 

Our final model for this post is this absolutely incredible sea serpent attacking a ship. The entire model, both the ship and the serpent is folded from a single square of paper. This square of paper was 1 metre x 1 metre! You’d need a huge amount of space to fold something with a sheet of paper that big.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/133041586@N06/35055271522/

Stormy Seas, Designed and Folded by Bart Davids

Crease pattern available from Bart Davids’ Flickr

 

Mythology is absolutely perfect for origami. Since there’s so many different creatures and figures from cultures all around the world we’ll probably never run out of fantastic things to fold.

Let us know which one of these designs was your favourite in the comments!