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Miwok Material Culture: Indian Life of the Yosemite Region (1933) by S. A. Barrett and E. W. Gifford


TOYS

The chief toys of children were made from acorns. Apparently there were local difference in the acorn toys. Southern informants were not acquainted with the acorn musical string of the north. The Northern Miwok did not use the acorn top of the south.

The acorn musical string (kō'wa, P, N) consisted of acorns strung on an ordinary string. By holding the string so that one of these acorns struck lightly against the upper incisors when the remainder of the acorns on the string were whirled, a peculiar sound was produced. This might be modified by changing the form of the buccal cavity. This instrument was also employed to some extent by adults. See plate LXX, figs. 1 and 2.

The acorn top (lutu'nna, C) is shown in plate LXX, figs. 4-6. This was almost exclusively a child’s toy and no game was played with it.

An acorn buzzer toy called luma'a (C) resembled the toy known among white children as the buzz saw. As is shown in plate LXX, fig. 3, it consisted simply of an acorn perforated near its middle by two holes, through which a double cord was passed. By twisting these cords and then exerting a slight tension at intervals, the acorn was made to spin like a buzz saw.

Miwok children had a whistle (sūle'pa, P, N), composed of a section of goose quill with a small hole burned into its side.

Toy bows and arrows were made for boys.

Dolls were made of shredded soaproot leaves, tied on sticks, and folded over the end of a stick to make a head. No cradle was made, but a pine spindle house was constructed for the doll. This was furnished with a bed of pine needles.



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