Thursday, March 18, 2010

Whipping top

A whipping top is a toy, pure and simple. In all probability China has the most unique whipping tops, where this game has been elevated to a fitness sport. The whips become large; bullwhips, double whips, whips with chains, whips on sticks, and sticks with whips are all used. The tops may be so large that they need to be started while held steady with a dowel inserted into the upper portion of the top. Swing the big whips in a wide circle overhead and let them hit the side of the top, then again and again (video playlist). Here is a collage of images of some of the tops and whips:

Now if The Great Alaska Bowl Company or a local woodworker could turn me a four to eight inch diameter top on their giant wood lathe, I could put a metal tip on it, make a simple home made whip, and I would be in business like these guys. A cheap and easy approach.  (But all the fun of the big tops is also contained in the smaller, more portable ones that don't require a 15 foot radius to play with!) 

Here's the relevant terminology:
打陀螺    = da tuoluo, spintop or whipping top
抽陀螺    = draw top in Chinese
鞭陀螺    = bian tuoluo, lit. "whip top" in Chinese

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