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


Acknowledgement: I wish to thank Jennifer Twist, Archivist at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, for checking for string figure artefacts in the collections, and Adrian Kingston, Collection Manager Photography, for providing an editable file of the 190 photographs that follow. Attention is drawn to the museum's standard disclaimer that the file may contain inaccuracies as the database it is drawn from is in continual development.

James McDonald, ethnographic filmmaker and photographer at the Dominion Museum, New Zealand, in the 1910s and 20s, was the great-great-grandfather of Amiria Henare, the present (2002) Assistant Curator in Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, UK. I wish to thank Dr Henare for first drawing my attention to McDonald's photographs at Te Papa Tongarewa.

Photographs titled "Whai or Maori String Games"

  1. B.001530 One diamond from continuation 3 of Kahukuranui
  2. B.001531 Amo Tupapaku or The Litter for the Corpse
  3. B.001533 Continuation of Kahukuranui
  4. B.001537 Kotiro-Punarua
  5. B.001540 Fifth figure of Te Pa-harakeke or Flax Cultivation
  6. B.001541 Second figure of Pa-harakeke called Rakau Piko (The Bent Stick)
  7. B.001550 View in detail of "The Cobweb"
  8. B.001591 Kumu-Ruru finished figure
  9. B.001592 Wharepuni from the string figure Waka which is a variant of Pae-tui or the Perch of the Tui
  10. B.001594 Tunga-pariri similar to Pae-tui
  11. B.001596 Niho Reke, third figure of Pa-harakeke or Flax Cultivation
  12. B.001601 Tunga-pariri, variation of Pae-kaka or the Perch of the Kaka
  13. B.001603 Close-up view of loops for Rerenga-wairua 1 or Spirits' Leap. This figure is produced after movement 5.
  14. B.001611 Rerenga-wairua 1 or The Spirits' Leap, during movement 8
  15. B.001634 Parori

Photograph titled "General Maori Group"

  1. B.001389 View of a large group of unknown Maori men and women. Two women are playing string games in front of the others

Photographs titled "String Game - Ethnological Expedition"

Photograph titled "Dominion Museum Ethnological Expedition"

  1. B.010534 View of Johannes C Andersen helping to set up a string game

Photographs titled "Maori string games -"

  1. C.001574 Dugong
  2. C.001575 Te Moananui a Kuia
  3. C.001576 Ara Pikipiki a Tawhaki
  4. C.001577 Turuturu a Maui
  5. C.001578 Moutohora
  6. C.001579 Waka a Tama-rereti
  7. C.001580 Waka a Tama-rereti
  8. C.001581 Waka a Tama-rereti
  9. C.001582 Toemi
  10. C.001583 Brush house (Nathu)
  11. C.001584 Geigi and Dangal (Caroline Islands)
  12. C.001585 Parori
  13. C.001586 Opening A
  14. C.001587 Position I
  15. C.001588 Moutohora (after movement 4)
  16. C.001589 Takapau (finished figure)
  17. C.001590 Mouti (after movement 8)
  18. C.001591 Mouti (during movement 5)
  19. C.001592 Moutohora
  20. C.001593 The Gul
  21. C.001594 Fighting Head Hunters
  22. C.001595 Ruaumoko
  23. C.001596 Whare-kehua (Caroline Islands)
  24. C.001597 Komore (after movement 4)
  25. C.001598 Waka a Tama-rereti
  26. C.001599 Takapau (after movement 6)
  27. C.001600 Takapau (after movement 11)
  28. C.001601 Wahine (during movement 5)
  29. C.001602 Waka a Tama-rereti
  30. C.001603 Moutohora
  31. C.001604 Star made from the Brush House (Nathu)
  32. C.001605 Moutohora
  33. C.001606 untitled
  34. C.001607 untitled
  35. C.001608 untitled
  36. C.001609 untitled
  37. C.001610 untitled
  38. C.001611 untitled
  39. C.001612 untitled
  40. C.001613 untitled
  41. C.001614 untitled
  42. C.001615 untitled
  43. C.001616 untitled
  44. C.001617 Mouti (from Whare o Takoreke)
  45. C.001618 untitled
  46. C.001619 untitled
  47. C.001620 untitled
  48. C.001621 Sawing wood
  49. C.001622 Sugar Cane
  50. C.001623 untitled
  51. C.001624 untitled
  52. C.001625 untitled
  53. C.001626 untitled
  54. C.001627 Komore
  55. C.001628 Te Totara i Kutia ai a Maru
  56. C.001629 Mouti
  57. C.001630 Ikiiki
  58. C.001631 Dugong
  59. C.001632 Tutae takahuri (completed)
  60. C.001633 Ruapehu and Tongariro
  61. C.001634 untitled
  62. C.001635 Te Kuri Ruarangi
  63. C.001636 Sugar Cane
  64. C.001637 Ara pipipipi a Tawhaki
  65. C.001638 Pute kai a Tawiri
  66. C.001639 Wahine
  67. C.001640 Butterfly
  68. C.001641 String game (Opening A)
  69. C.001642 Parahuhu
  70. C.001643 Ikiiki
  71. C.001644 Te Kuri Ruarangi
  72. C.001645 Te Kuri Ruarangi (second figure)
  73. C.001646 Te Kuri Ruarangi
  74. C.001647 Maui (finished figure)
  75. C.001648 Koro Koro o Kiwi
  76. C.001649 Turuturu a Maui
  77. C.001650 Hoe a Kupe
  78. C.001651 untitled
  79. C.001652 Ara pipipipi a Tawhaki
  80. C.001653 Takoho
  81. C.001654 untitled
  82. C.001655 untitled

Photograph titled "Maori string figure"

  1. C.003017 Demonstration of a movement in a Maori string game by Johannes C Andersen, Chief Librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library

Photograph titled "Whai or Maori String Games"

  1. B.001618 Finished figure of Moko (Women's Chin Tattoo) or Frog

Photographs titled "Whai or Maori String Games"

  1. B.001567 Possibly Tonga Raurepe, Ngati Porou version of Takapau
  2. B.001568
  3. B.001589 Bird-lime on the tree after movement 9
  4. B.001590 Kopu or Venus demonstrated by Makurata of Tuhoe
  5. B.001593
  6. B.001595 Kapunga Rurutu, movement 5
  7. B.001597 Osage Diamonds, finished figure
  8. B.001598 View of 2 pairs of hands preparing loops. Rerenga-wairua 2, after movement 13
  9. B.001599 Tangata-tahae, after movement 3. This figure is called "The thief standing up"
  10. B.001600 View of two pairs of hands holding the finished figure of Kehua or the Ghost
  11. B.001602 Two pairs of hands demonstrating the finished figure Ara tia a Pawa or the Aratiatia Rapids
  12. B.001604 Tangata-tahae or The Thief, after movement 1
  13. B.001605 Pa-harakeke or Flax Cultivation, fifth and finished figure
  14. B.001606 Tutae-takahuri, 3rd figure
  15. B.001607 Close-up view of the hands showing the finished figure of Rerenga-wairua or the Spirits' leap
  16. B.001608 Tutae-takahuri, 1st figure
  17. B.001609 Tutae-takahuri, 4th figure
  18. B.001610 Over and Over after movement 11
  19. B.001612 Tutae-takahuri, 2nd figure
  20. B.001613 Pa-harakeke or Flax Cultivation showing the 5th figure before it is drawn apart
  21. B.001614 Kehua or The Ghost, finished figure
  22. B.001615 Bird-lime after movement 6
  23. B.001616 Koura-moana or Saltwater Crayfish
  24. B.001617
  25. B.001619
  26. B.001620 Tunga-pariri, finished figure
  27. B.001621 Rerenga-wairua 2, after movement 11 entitled Kupe in Te Reinga
  28. B.001622 Ara tia a Pawa or Aratiatia Rapids, during movement 11
  29. B.001623 Rerenga-wairua 2 or The Spirits' Leap, during movement 10
  30. B.001624 Untitled
  31. B.001625 Rerenga-wairua 2 or The Spirits' Leap during movement 10
  32. B.001626 Rerenga-wairua 2 or The Spirits' Leap, after movement 10
  33. B.001627 Kehua or The Ghost during movement 5
  34. B.001628 Rerenga-wairua 2 or The Spirits' Leap, after movement 12
  35. B.001629 Poho Kereru, finished figure
  36. B.001630 Rerenga-wairua after movement 15 called House of Kupe
  37. B.001631 Rerenga-wairua after movement 16 called House of Kupe Adorned with Carvings
  38. B.001632
  39. B.001633 Motu Kiwi, finished figure
  40. B.001635 Unnamed figure after movement 6 in the series called Lozenges and Triangles
  41. B.001636 Rerenga-wairua or The Spirits' Leap after movement 11
  42. B.001637 Finished figure of Waka a Tama-rereti or The Canoe of Tama-rereti
  43. B.001638 Finished figure of Moutohora or The Whale
  44. B.001639 Tangata-tahae or The Thief after movement 2
  45. B.001640 Finished figure of Parera which is a variation of Motu Kiwi
  46. B.001641 Star made from "brush house"
  47. B.001642 Pari-nui-te-ra or The Great Cliff of the Sun
  48. B.001643 Unknown Maori woman demonstrating a string game to an audience of 2 unknown Maori men and a woman
  49. B.001644 View of an unknown Maori woman demonstrating a Whai
  50. B.001645 View of an unknown Maori woman and 2 men sitting on the ground playing a string game

Photograph entitled "Maori string figures or games"

  1. C.000150 Maori string figures or games

Photograph entitled "Portrait of Johannes C Andersen"

  1. C.000151 Johannes C Andersen, specialist in Maori string games and Chief Librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington

Photographs titled "Maori String Games : "

  1. B.010316 Three Diamonds
  2. B.010317 Two Diamonds
  3. B.010318 Osages Diamonds
  4. B.010319 Pae Tui

Photograph titled: "Whai or Maori String Games"

  1. B.002488 Pair of outstretched hands with string attached ready to play

Photographs titled: "Whai or Maori String Games"

  1. B.001527 Demonstration of a string game
  2. B.001528
  3. B.001529 Close-up view of a pair of hands making loops
  4. B.001532 Close-up view of a pair of hands
  5. B.001534 View of two pairs of hands playing a string game
  6. B.001535
  7. B.001536 Lem-bardigida or The Setting Sun from the Murray Island
  8. B.001538 First figure of Te Kuri Ruarangi or Te Pa-harakeke. This game is a Tuhoe version of Kuri a Tuatini
  9. B.001539
  10. B.001543 Third figure of Te Kuri Ruarangi. This is a Tuhoe version of Kuri a Tuatini
  11. B.001544 Joining two loops
  12. B.001545 Close-up view of a pair of hands working on a string game
  13. B.001546 Opening of the first loop in a string game
  14. B.001547 Large diamond in the centre of a String Game
  15. B.001548 Koro-Moana
  16. B.001549
  17. B.001569 Koura Papatea or Freshwater Crayfish
  18. B.001570 Hapuku with thumbs released
  19. B.001571 Wahine with double strings
  20. B.001572 Hapuku
  21. B.001573 Koura Papatea or Freshwater Crayfish

Photograph titled "Whai or Maori String Games"

  1. B.001542 Untwisted Loops for Pa-harakeke or Flax Cultivation

Photograph titled: "Display of Whai or Maori String Games"

  1. B.001566 Display set up by WJ Phillipps including the games Wahine, Koura Papatea, Tane : The Sun God, Hapuku, Komore and Kapunga Rurutu

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