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Japan is well known for its unique designs. Be it traditional or modern, the way they design things is very much distinct and is mostly not like anything else in the world. It is one of the many things the Japanese are proud of.
On Thursday, an exhibition which displays such diverse and exquisite Japanese designs opened at the Alliance Éthio-Francaise. Over a 100 designs are on display in the exhibition hall and include designs from post-war Japan to modern-day artifacts. From mobile phones to sound systems and kitchenware, the items featured at the exhibition represent the exquisite and practical designs that represent the simple and unique aesthetics of the Japanese people. It was not just items of distinctive designs that were on the menu, there was also a lecture and workshop on Japanese Origata, which is a form of gift wrapping. Experts from Japan gave an interesting discourse on the art of Origata on Saturday. Origata is known to have been in existence during the Muromachi period (1333-1573) of Japan’s history where the wrapping and the presentation of gifts was considered just as important as bequeathing the gift itself. It mainly differs from the way we wrap gifts now, or are used to, in that it involves a unique method of only partly concealing the gift inside.
In Japanese tradition it is considered rude to open a gift in front of the person who had given it; therefore, the Origata way of wrapping presents came into existence to give the receiver a glimpse of what the gift might be. According to Origata experts, the real beauty of Origata is in the way the folds are made and the silent meaning that is conveys. For example, a good luck fold is created by folding to the front and right of a package, creating a small opening to the left side. This is said to convey a feeling of overwhelming happiness. Then there is the fold which expresses the sympathy that the person offering the gift feels for the recipient, on whom some sort of misfortune has befallen; such folds will always be on the left side. If you happen to have missed the lecture on this beautiful historic art, don’t miss the exhibition, which will stay open until the 30th of May.