It can be argued that it was the Egyptians and not the Chinese, who invented paper flowers because the word “Paper” comes from an ancient Egyptian word “papyrus”, which is an aquatic grassy plant found at the banks of the River Nile in Egypt. This plant has flowers that grows in clusters at the tip of each stem; which are triangle in shape and stand upright, and has long leaves. History has it the Egyptians have been using “papyrus” way back as 5,000 years for a variety of uses including as a writing material which later helped invent the name “paper”.
It is also believed that the art of making paper flowers originated in China and goes way back as 2,000 years ago soon after paper was invented. The Chinese started making paper flowers, which would float in containers of water, to be used for religious offerings, but as time evolved they were also used as a creative channel for meditation and came to be recognized as one of four arts the high-born Chinese man strived to master. The Chinese floral creation tries to depict good over evil, light over darkness, forces of the world and presents its contrast in forms, colors and textures. Their plant materials and containers also represent fixed messages though their choice of colors and composition and by the maturity and color of the flower leaves and stems. In today’s modern society there are still some traditional Chinese styles that have evolved over the centuries which continue to influence designers all over the world.
The Chinese not only use paper to make flowers, they have taken it a step further and are known to produce such items as paper fans, paper lanterns and other decorative pieces. In paper cutting which the Chinese pride themselves at, there is a tradition of using such themes from history, religious beliefs, nature, the famous Chinese dragons and among other things the popular Chinese Legends. Some pieces represent the commemoration of special events such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and their complex designs and delicate lines symbolizes a gift of patience and talent for the lucky person who it is designed fo,r to treasure for life.
In the Victorian days women started making paper flower when the real flowers were out of season. They made these flowers by unraveling a real flower and drawing pictures of them on paper, which they used as a template. The stems were made with wire covered with green tissue paper, because in those days floral tape was probably not yet invented. They used these flowers to decorate various rooms in their homes. It was also a favorite pastime for these women who in those days were limited in their social activities.