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Ratchet

Wooden object that makes a noise when it rotates around a gear wheel and hits a flexible piece of wood known as the tongue. It has a handle to allow the user to spin it round by moving their hand in circles. At one end it has a hollow sound box to amplify the sound.

Ratchets had various functions, apart from the most obvious as a noisy children’s toy. They were used for example to scare off birds, in which case the ratchet was fastened to a pole and blown around by the wind, like a weather vane. They were also often used at Easter in what were known as the “darkness rites” on Good Friday night, when all the candles in the church were blown out and the children started making a lot of noise with their ratchets, so as to simulate the storm that accompanied the death of Christ. Bibl.: Cortizas, Antón (2013), Tastarabás. Enciclopedia de brinquedos tradicionais, Vigo: Xerais, 729-731.

Dimensions:
18 x 22 x 6 cm 
Medium/support:
Wood 
Cultural context:
Circa 1990; Esteiro (Muros) 
Artist:
Local craftsman