Siltteugi

Siltteugi

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game using a string connected to both hands that is passed back and forth between two players as they try to make various shapes with the string.

Siltteugi, similar to Cat’s Cradle, is a game replacing the role of needles, using cloth instead of thread, to the fingers. This game has been enjoyed internationally over many years thanks to its universality. Siltteugi is played mostly by girls, while there are many ways to play it. The following is the most common. The game begins by wrapping a string around both hands, and wrapping it again from the initial state. Once it has been wrapped twice, the string wraps the palms and the back of the hands altogether. The player then sticks the middle fingers under the string on the palms of opposite hands. This basic shape is called nalteul (a looming machine). After that, the second player sticks the thumbs and index fingers between the scissors-shaped spaces of the nalteul to grab it, brings down the grasped parts under the string wrapping the back of the hands, and brings them up to the center between the hands. This second shape resembles a badukpan (a Baduk playing board). Players continuously give and take the strings in that way, while changing the shapes little by little in doing so. There is also jeotgarak (chopsticks), sonunkkal, (bull’s eye), jeolgutgong (a pestle), and other basic shapes as well. Players can repeatedly make the same basic shapes while exchanging the string. The order of repetition may vary, but the same shapes may be used again in each cycle. The game ends when a player fails to make a shape due to lack of skills or focus, essentially losing the game.

Besides the well-known basic shapes, skillful players create new shapes to outdo the opponent. Continuously creating new shapes is another way to play Siltteugi. Tobjilhagi (sawing) is a variation of nalteul, where both players wrapping a string around the hands, and sing while pushing and pulling the string. A player makes nalteul, and the other player pulls the two horizontal lines below. The player that makes nalteul brings down the parts wrapped around the middle fingers only, and then brings them back to the original place. Both players then push and pull the string to touch each other’s hands on the same side by crossing hands. This way of playing is also called Silgeongdalgeong, an onomatopoeic word depicting the action of sawing. Players repeatedly sing a song that goes, “Seulgeun seulgeun (onomatopoeia of sawing), sawing as we go!” while simply enjoying the game play, as the purpose of the game does not lie in winning or losing.

Siltteugi

Siltteugi
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game using a string connected to both hands that is passed back and forth between two players as they try to make various shapes with the string.

Siltteugi, similar to Cat’s Cradle, is a game replacing the role of needles, using cloth instead of thread, to the fingers. This game has been enjoyed internationally over many years thanks to its universality. Siltteugi is played mostly by girls, while there are many ways to play it. The following is the most common. The game begins by wrapping a string around both hands, and wrapping it again from the initial state. Once it has been wrapped twice, the string wraps the palms and the back of the hands altogether. The player then sticks the middle fingers under the string on the palms of opposite hands. This basic shape is called nalteul (a looming machine). After that, the second player sticks the thumbs and index fingers between the scissors-shaped spaces of the nalteul to grab it, brings down the grasped parts under the string wrapping the back of the hands, and brings them up to the center between the hands. This second shape resembles a badukpan (a Baduk playing board). Players continuously give and take the strings in that way, while changing the shapes little by little in doing so. There is also jeotgarak (chopsticks), sonunkkal, (bull’s eye), jeolgutgong (a pestle), and other basic shapes as well. Players can repeatedly make the same basic shapes while exchanging the string. The order of repetition may vary, but the same shapes may be used again in each cycle. The game ends when a player fails to make a shape due to lack of skills or focus, essentially losing the game.

Besides the well-known basic shapes, skillful players create new shapes to outdo the opponent. Continuously creating new shapes is another way to play Siltteugi. Tobjilhagi (sawing) is a variation of nalteul, where both players wrapping a string around the hands, and sing while pushing and pulling the string. A player makes nalteul, and the other player pulls the two horizontal lines below. The player that makes nalteul brings down the parts wrapped around the middle fingers only, and then brings them back to the original place. Both players then push and pull the string to touch each other’s hands on the same side by crossing hands. This way of playing is also called Silgeongdalgeong, an onomatopoeic word depicting the action of sawing. Players repeatedly sing a song that goes, “Seulgeun seulgeun (onomatopoeia of sawing), sawing as we go!” while simply enjoying the game play, as the purpose of the game does not lie in winning or losing.