Table of Contents - Volume 6, number 2 (June 2001) - 24 pages
This string figure is particularly noteworthy in that, to date, its method of construction is the oldest on record. Heraklas, a Greek physician who lived around A.D. 100, wrote an essay about knots and nooses that would be useful to doctors. Plinthios Brokhos, one of the eighteen nooses he described, was recommended for setting chin fractures.
Unlike most of the nooses in his collection, the Plinthios Brokhos is formed by weaving a loop of string on the hands (the others are formed by simply tying knots in a cord). Once completed, the patient’s chin is inserted into a central rhombus and the finger loops are tied together atop the patient’s head to form a sling. In Greek, Plinthios means small brick, tile, square frame, or hollow rectangle. Brokhos means noose, slip knot, or snare.
Here is an unusual string figure that requires a metal ring. A string loop is threaded through the ring and then manipulated using the movements of ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’ After detaching the ring from the loop, a pair of ‘Goldfish’ will be seen swimming in opposite directions.
In order for the goldfish to swim, a ring that can be opened must be used. A ring for binding loose-leaf notebook paper is ideal, but a small rubber band, which can be cut, is an adequate substitute.
Net-like patterns appear worldwide, not only in string figures but in many other forms of artistic expression. No doubt, people everywhere admire their symmetry.
‘Full Morning’ is an attractive net figure from Fiji. The strands of the mesh represent sunlight. It is preceded by a collapsed mesh which the natives call ‘Early Morning’ or ‘Dawn’. Upon releasing the thumb loops the mesh springs open, thus mimicking sun rays that suddenly illuminate a landscape as day breaks.
The ecliptic is an imaginary line in the sky that passes through each of the twelve constellations of the zodiac. It is the path along which the planets appear to travel as they orbit the sun. But since their orbits are not strictly coplanar, oftentimes planets appear slightly above or slightly below the imaginary line. This feature is vividly portrayed in ‘Ecliptic,’ a two-loop string figure invented by ISFA member Tetsuo Sato.
String figures made from two string loops are not common. ‘Ecliptic’ requires two loops of the same size. For a more pleasing effect use different color strings.
‘The Wandering Loop’ is a baffling string trick in which a loop is placed on one finger, wound around two fingers (the original finger and an adjacent finger), and then unwound. Upon unwinding, we find that the loop has "wandered" to the adjacent finger.
This trick appears in many Japanese Ayatori books, and in Dr. Noguchi’s fourth article on Japanese string figures (Bulletin no. 13). It has also been observed in the Hawaiian Islands, where it was probably introduced by Japanese immigrants. The following is a simplified version adapted for performance with a short loop.
This three-dimensional string design requires five individual loops and three players to construct. All five loops should be the same size.
The completed design represents Tokyo Tower. Tokyo Tower is an iron structure that resembles the Eiffel Tower but is taller. Most broadcast signals are transmitted from this tower.
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