What Are String Figures?


Quick Answer

String figures are patterns, shapes and outlines formed by twisting and wrapping string around, between or on the fingers. One or multiple people manipulate the same string, or an individual uses his mouth, wrist or feet to manipulate the string, secure it and produce intricate figures.

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Full Answer

The game cat's cradle, for instance, is a series of string figures that two players construct in a series. Similar games include cat's whiskers, Jacob's ladder and witch's broom. Variations of such string figures and string games exist around the world, just as the history of string figures encompasses many diverse cultures around the world.

The Kwakiutl Indians of the Pacific Northwest possess more than 100 unique string figures and have a long tradition of string games.

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