A Fish-Spear

This little figure comes from Murray Island, Torres Straits, where it is known as Baur = a Fish-spear (see Rivers and Haddon, p. 140, Fig. 1). It is identical with "Pitching a Tent," of the Salish Indians, British Columbia, obtained by Mr. Harlan I. Smith, when he secured "Dressing a Skin." Several stages of "Pitching a Tent" are illustrated by Mr. Smith (p. 282, Fig. 270, b, 1-4) and the game itself is described by Dr. Haddon (5, p. 217). Dr. Haddon has since found it played by the Clayoquaht Indians, Nootka tribe, Vancouver Island, at the St. Louis Exposition under the name "Sea-Egg (Echinus) Spear." There is a finished pattern in the Philadelphia Free Museum of Science and Art, No. 22608 from Zuñi, New Mexico, collected by Mr. Stewart Culin.


First: Put the loop of string on both hands in the First Position.


Second: Insert the right index, from above, behind the string crossing the left palm, and draw out the loop to the right, twisting it several times by rotating the right index.


Third: With the left index pick up from below the string crossing the right palm, being sure to pick it up between the strings of the right index loop and near the right index where the loop is not twisted (Fig. 61). Separate the hands and draw the strings tight (Fig. 62).

Fig. 61
Fig. 62

Fourth: Release the loops from the right thumb and little finger, and separate the hands. The points of the spear will be on the thumb, index, and little finger of the left hand. and the handle will be held by the index of the right hand (Fig. 63).

Fig. 63

String Figure Notation (SFN)

  1. P1:rF pu lPS ma-tw rFN
  2. lF mr-th rFN pu rPS
  3. re rTN+rLN (at same time)