The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Les Jeux et Plaisirs de l'Enfance, 1657

'Les Jeux et Plaisirs de l'Enfance' which was published in 1657 contains 50 engravings of naked boys engaged in playing various, often very robust, games, one of which shows them playing darts. The flights look as though they could well be made of paper, possibly from a square folded into a waterbomb base. The angles of the flights shown in the engraving are not quite the angles you would expect if this was the case, though this, of course, could be down to artistic licence in the engraving.


In 1800 a new version of the book was published, edited by Alexandre Chaponnier, containing just twelve of the original pictures, with the quatrains revised and corrected and with some explanatory text. The explanatory text for the 'Les Dards' image reads:

According to this text the flights were 'un papier plie en quatre et introduit dans deux fentes en croix' (a paper folded in four and inserted in two cross slits) which confirms the idea that they were formed by folding a waterbomb base from a square.