Origami: Mandarin

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6-unit Mandarin, by Ekaterina Lukasheva

One time a friend asked people bring him Christmas ornaments as party gifts, and this is what I made.

Ekaterina designed Mandarin to be made with 12 or 30 units, at which point it becomes a floral ball (or “kusudama”, as it’s called).  But here I only used 6 units, and so the “flowers” only really have 3 petals and they don’t much look like flowers at all.  It looks more like a spiky Christmassy thing.  How many points do you think it has?

Answer: it has 10.  10 is a rather unusual number, particularly since the geometry of the model is based on a tetrahedron.  A tetrahedron has 4 faces, 6 edges, and 4 vertices.  There are 6 pieces of paper corresponding to the 6 edges, and there are 4 “flowers” corresponding to the 4 faces of the tetrahedron.  Each piece of paper forms a single point, and each flower forms another point.  In the photo above, the gold, green, and red points are edges, while the multi-colored points are flowers.  That makes 10 points total.

I wish I could give away more of these things as gifts.  They just tend to accumulate, and I’m not sure what to do with them.  I’ve thought about selling them but I wouldn’t know where to begin.


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