へちま当独楽 (sponge gourd roulette-style top)

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Title:

へちま当独楽 (hechima ategoma)
“sponge gourd roulette-style top”

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This is an ategoma, or roulette-style top, with a sponge gourd (also known as an Egyptian cucumber). An image of a morning glory is painted on the surface of the principal top. Ategoma-style tops are used for games. When the handle is spun the gourd below spins with it, pointing to one of the six images. Unfortunately Hiroi-sensei has forgotten what pictures adorn the base.

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Hiroi Michiaki: This is a sponge gourd roulette-style top, and here there’s a picture painted. Mm, these pictures have different stories, but here you can’t see them so I don’t really know.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah.

Hiroi: How many [pictures] is it separated into? Six?

Mrs. Hiroi: It’s six. Six.

Hiroi: Yeah, six. I thought this top must be a morning glory.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah.

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