Museums and other institutions with string figure artefacts

- an inventory of string figures mounted on card, string figures on film, string figure photographs, and recordings of string figure songs

Compiled by Martin Probert

Other Archives with String Figure Artefacts
Survival, Origin and Mathematics of String Figures



I wish to thank Patricia Kervick, Associate Archivist, for supplying details of the photographs from Liberia and Australia, and for alerting me to the existence of the photographs of string figures in the Davidson collection (Dec 2002). This collection of photographs was a fascinating find as there are no photographs in Davidson's paper, nor does Davidson mention having taken photographs in the excellent introduction to his paper.

I am also greatly indebted to Dr. Irene Good who contacted me with details of the Cora Du Bois collection from Alor Island: this was a second most exciting find from the Peabody Museum as it represents the first report of string figures from the Lesser Sundas Islands. I must further thank Dr. Good for supplying, in response to my request, the string figure data on the Alorese figures.

Photographs (3) of string figures from Liberia

  1. N8644 "Cat's Cradle". Image of male figure making cat's cradle.
  2. N8991 "Woman Making Cat's Cradle"
  3. N9123 "Woman Making Cat's Cradle"

Photographs (72+) of aboriginal Australian string figures

18 annotated string patterns stitched onto cardboard from Kalabahi, Alor Island, Lesser Sundas Islands, Indonesia

  1. 999-6-70/5805 "Kijaima (cooked kijai - a ravine plant)"
  2. 999-6-70/5806 "Kamaweg (cat) 1 = eyes (goat live & cat are reverse - see position of eyes)"
    On back: Oct. 18, 1938 No. 2
  3. 999-6-70/5807
  4. 999-6-70/5808 "Foenabaling (areca sprout)"
  5. 999-6-70/5809 "Toegra (sword) fak (sheath)"
  6. 999-6-70/5810 "la oepi (whole moon)"
  7. 999-6-70/5811 "Koe roeng (a sort of rat trap)"
  8. 999-6-70/5812 "Bilie ma - (a sort of bean[?] - cooked)"
  9. 999-6-70/5813 "Kafie re (goat live) 11 = eyes"
  10. 999-6-70/5814 "Takoijima (cooked beans)"
  11. 999-6-70/5815 "Fe ha wata (Pig his shoulder)"
  12. 999-6-70/5816 "Kafie mona (goat dead)"
    Back of cardboard is stamped: "Prof. Dr. Cora DuBois, Kalabahi, Alor, Timor Residency, Netherlands East Indies."
  13. 999-6-70/5817 "Kafie tila (goat rope)"
  14. 999-6-70/5818 "Ko (tuber) boei (short)"
  15. 999-6-70/5819 "Arang Koeki lek (name of a castor plan[t])"
  16. 999-6-70/5820 "Je Kasing Moon part -- 1/2 moon"
  17. 999-6-70/5821 "Tada K Elaij"
  18. 999-6-70/5822 "Ko (tuber) lohoe (long)"

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Other Archives with String Figure Artefacts
The Mathematics and Origin of String Figures
Copyright Martin Probert 2002