Cocoon Rattles


Prehistoric man made ornaments with bones, seeds and cocoons. Some tribes in certain parts of the world consider cocoons as sacred. They make cocoon rattles and use them in traditional dance and song.

Collection of enough cocoons may take several months and seasons. Each cocoon is collected by clipping the twig one inch above and below where the cocoon is attached. Cocoons of Satumid moths are very tough. If kept dry and preserved for long periods of time, they become hard and strong. When held in hands and shaken they produce rattle sound.

Tribal people in Africa and South America (Mexico) make cocoon rattles, necklaces, anklets etc. Traditional dancers of Zulu in South Africa wear cocoon rattles.

Cocoons of the size of an inch are sewn onto a calf skin. Calf skin bands containing three rows of cocoons are tied to ankles. The anklets make sounds when the dancers jump and move their feet to the beat of drums or blow pipes.

Dances and ceremonies go together, when groups of people assemble in celebrations. Zulu boys and girls perform dances during coming of age and wedding ceremonies. They wear cocoon rattles and perform communal dance.

Songs, dance and instruments build relationships and strengthen communal bondages.

Cocoons are used not only in music and dance, but also as special ornaments, Coahuitic tribe from Monterrey, Mexico, wear necklaces made of cocoons. The tribe considered such cocoon ornaments a luxury. Women valued them as a rare treasure.

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