ひも絵当ごま (string picture roulette-style top)

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Title:

ひも絵当独楽 (himoe ategoma)
string picture roulette-style  top

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This is a roulette-style top, which is a kind of game. Someone spins the top in the middle, and the handle of the top lands on a particular picture. It is called a “string picture top” for two reasons. First, there is a string with which the top is spun which is also used to create an image (thereby “drawing a picture” with the string). The person who “draws” the picture then asks a playmate to guess what they have drawn. Second, the images on the front of the top’s base are created using a single line (contour line drawing), mimicking the idea of using the single string to create an image.

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Hiroi Michiaki: This is called a string painting, and these pictures, there’s a string you spin the top with. You play by making pictures with that string. Not only do you spin the top, but you draw a picture with that string and you ask “What is this a picture of?” and the children guess. Yesterday I made a picture there with that string painting.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah, you did, you did.

Hiroi: She looked at it but she didn’t know what it was at all. Hahaha.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah, somehow I couldn’t figure it out at all. But, ah, what is it? A ship on the water. Ahh, what do you call it? Fishers ride it, he made a picture of one fishing. You continuously place the string [down]. Knowing that, you’re like, “Ahh, I see!”

Hiroi: And this, it’s really difficult because you draw it with [only] one continuous line. Because it’s only one string. You do it like this without drawing and all at once go like this. Without stopping at all. This is string painting. This is, and, you can actually do it, using the string. It’s a string– roulette-style top.

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