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STILT STORIES FROM OLD ANTHROPOLOGICAL WRITINGS
I have collected narratives of native stiltwalking traditions from around the world. I am sorry that some of them have no reference to the source of the articles.
dated March-April, 1944, in MAN
STILT-WALKING AMONG THE MURIAS OF BASTAR STATE, by Verrier Elwin
Laya daya loo loon thi
This may be freely translated, '0 stinking mosquitoes, run away to the fields of rai before our feet touch the threshold, for with branches we are hunting you.' As they dance, the boys beat the ground with their bursundi branches, as a result of which it is believed that stinging wasps and flies will not bother the village for the rest of the year.
6 For other references to Bhimsen see Grigson, op. cit., pp. 206, 215, 219 ff. ; Crooke, Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India (London, 1896), I, pp. 6, 89, 250 ; II, p. 182 ;
This is a photograph (not available, but above pictures are from Ghana) of a cultural display of my countrymen -- a man dressed in female costume standing on a Stilt. Stilt walking is a traditional display as a form of entertainment in Ghana by the people of Winneba.
Research on the mathematics involved in stilt walking
Responses from an interview we conducted during the holidays have shown that experience is an important factor in maintaining balance on the stilt. As such all those who used to walk on the stilt gained their experience from childhood. It started as a recreation and as they practiced they gained their experience. It was also revealed that certain factors needed to be considered before selecting a stilt to walk on. Such factors include the weight of the stilt walker, the length, diameter and weight of the stilt. Also, for one to walk with the stilt he needs to raise the legs a few times in order to transmit the load of the stilt onto his thigh muscle. It does not only consume much energy but it also requires concentration to be able to stand on it. Actually one needs to concentrate and meditate a few days ahead of time.
The research has also shown that "Dantai" is the wood used (because it can bend like that of the cane) however any other wood can be used. The male "Dantai" is stronger than the female so the male is mostly preferred. What is interesting about "Dantai" is that it can bend like cane without breaking. It's only when it is too dry that it breaks or when it is stretched beyond its elastic limit. The wood after it has been cut need to be seasoned to make it a bit light so that it can be used but care must be taking not to make it too dry. A special Carpenter is employed to work on the foot lap. Foot lap is the base on which stilt walkers place their foot before it is tied with a rope.
On the average, the length of the wood should be 280cm (9.2ft.), diameter 6cm and 5cm respectively. This is so because the wood has top face and bottom face; the top face is tapered to the base hence the difference in the diameter. The height of the person who stands on the stilt is very important such that when the person is tall he needs to use a shorter stilt. However, on the average one needs to be about 1.66m (65 inches) tall. Again, on the average the weight of the stilt walker should be 66kg (145 lb) and that of the stilt 75kg (165 lb!)
The tensile strength of the stilt using the averages should be 233.5 N/M2. This will however depend on the weight of the person and cross sectional area of the stilt chosen. The tensile strength is inversely proportional to the cross sectional area so that the smaller the cross sectional area the greater the tensile strength. Again, the force that is expected to exert on the stilt should be 66.0 N on the average. It is also observed that at the point of equilibrium the gravitational potential energy is a constant. However, the kinetic energy is not constant for as soon it becomes constant the person will fall. In spite of these, the sum of the kinetic energy and the gravitational force acting at a point in time should be a constant.
There are various costumes used; what is in this project is a male dressed like a woman. When the stilt is too long, its centre of gravity reduces and as such, care must be taken to avoid falling by cutting the stilt to the required dimension. It is alleged that some of them fall on slippery grounds as such some of the stilt walkers are learning to balance on slippery grounds. The following specifications can be of use as others think of using plastic instead of wood. In that case, the volume should be about 0.79m3 and weight about 75kg.
NAME HEIGHT OF STILT WALKER LENGTH OF STILT WGT OF STILT WGT. OF STILT WALKER DIAMETER TOP FACE/ BOTTOM FACE AKWETE 162CM 280.4CM 74KG 65.5KG 6CM/5CM MIKRONG 170CM 336.0CM 75KG 66.5KG 7CM/6CM KOW ATTAH 165CM 270.0CM 74.5KG 65.4KG 6CM/5CM KWESI TUNTUM 164CM 250.0CM 75.0KG 64.5KG 6CM/5CM KOFI POH 150CM 264.0CM 74.6KG 65.5KG 5CM/4CM AVERAGE 162.2CM 280.08CM 74.6KG 65.48KG 6CM/5CM
HEIGHT OF STILT WALKER
LENGTH OF STILT
WGT OF STILT
WGT. OF STILT WALKER
DIAMETER TOP FACE/ BOTTOM FACE
Mali ~ Fęte des Masques - April
From a private letter 1999 from West Africa (Mali):