African dance rattle capsules from Cameroon to Madagascar, from Somalia to Mozambique: Plaiting a symmetric, nonahedral shape

Paulus Gerdes

The following paper presents examples of dance rattles from several parts of Africa: from Cameroon in the West-Central Africa, from Somalia and Kenya in Eastern Africa, and from Madagascar and Mozambique in Southern Africa. The capsules of these rattles are plaited in a similar way. They display a nonahedral shape (nine faces) and each capsule is made from only one strip of a leaf. A plaited capsule can be understood as an alternating knot, precisely as knot 940 in the international knot table. The paper shows how to weave a strip of cardboard paper to produce the nonahedral shape.