Table of Contents - Volume 4, number 1 (March 1999) - 24 pages
Until Will Wirt visited China and Tibet in 1997, almost nothing was known about the string figures of this region. Despite the modern name, Movie Screen appears to be a variation of a traditional Japanese string figure known as Yagura or Platform.
The zigzag motif of this figure represents the flames of a fire. A simple rotation of the hands transforms the zigzag into a 'V' that represents smoke.
String tricks are widespread and surely ancient. In this simple trick, the performer touches together the tips of his thumb and index to simulate a ring from which the string loop is freed.
This African figure is yet another ingenious variation of Jacob's Ladder. First, a three-dimensional nest is formed, then upon releasing the thumb loops the nest dissolves and an eagle appears with outspread wings.
This novel string figure represents a rat scampering along the roof ridgepole of a thatched hut, his tail upraised in an effort to gain speed.
This net-like figure from Alaska dissolves into a second design representing two polar bears. The bears emerge after tearing the net with their sharp teeth and claws, hoping to feast on the fish trapped within.
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