Ancient Egyptians used papyrus as writing stationery. However, could one use papyrus for origami?

I couldn't find any resources for research...


2 Answers 2


The papyrus is not isotropic, is anisotropic. It can be imagined as a set of elastic thin sticks all fixed in one orientation by plastic mass. It can be easily folded in one direction and is elastic and springy in the perpendicular one. So, you can do some sort of origami, especially with a wet sheet of papyrus. But its rules will be much different from those of the Japanese one and much more complicated. For example, large and small sheets will behave themselves absolutely differently.

When Egyptians wanted to make papyrus more or less isotropic, they put two layers of it, crossing the threads by right angles. That construct, though, according to my own experiments, is absolutely non-pliable. It is elastic (springy) in all directions.

But kites could be made of papyrus. But weren't....

  • There is in fact a subset of Japanese origami that is folded wet
    – slebetman
    Mar 6, 2017 at 9:33
  • Can you explain what isotropic means in this context, and why it is important for origami, please? Mar 6, 2017 at 15:11
  • Basically, it has a grain. It folds/cracks easily in one directly, not so easily in any other. Mar 7, 2017 at 23:24
  • @ThomasFrancois you are welcome :-)
    – Gangnus
    Mar 8, 2017 at 7:07
  • 1
    @Gangnus the #10 noun sense of "grain" in WordNet is "the direction, texture, or pattern of fibers found in wood or leather or stone or in a woven fabric." Mar 8, 2017 at 7:20

No. According to Wikipedia:

Codices were an improvement on the papyrus scroll, as the papyrus was not pliable enough to fold without cracking and a long roll, or scroll, was required to create large-volume texts.

  • 2
    Not everyone seems to agree with wikipedia on that point.
    – Steve Bird
    Mar 5, 2017 at 20:08
  • 1
    Interesting. I guess there's one way to find out Mar 5, 2017 at 20:12

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