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FIG. 256. Mancala Holes at Third Pyramid, Gizeh.

To face p. 590


Islands,1 in Johore, and among the Niam-Niam it is 16. In some Madagascar boards at the Trocadero Museum in Paris there are three rows, each consisting of 8 or 9 holes. In a board in the British Museum from 'E. Africa' there are 24 holes in two rows, each formed of 12 cups. Mr. Culin illustrates a board of 24 holes in four equal rows from Kilima-Njaro (Plate 4); while one from Nyassa-land in the British Museum has 30 round holes in 4 rows, 8 being in each outer row and 7 in the inner ones, which have also two larger square holes, and in addition there are two extra round ones projecting at each end for holding captured pieces.

Mr. Bent found that three rows of 6 holes each are customary in Abyssinia, that is, 9 for each player3; and that from 32 to 60 holes were made in the ground in four rows in Mashonaland by the Makalangas, ten men playing at one time. He thought it a' mysterious and intricate game,' and was unable to master it.4

In Dahomey the game is played either on a board or by means of holes made in the ground; there are two rows, each having from 8 to 12 holes. In the Cross River district of Southern Nigeria, the board has 40 holes in two rows, each consisting of 20.6

Thus it is noticeable that in Africa the simplest form of the board is found in Egypt, and among the more northern races and those near the sea on the west coast; and that as a general rule the number of holes is greater, and the game evidently becomes more complicated as progression is made to the east and south-east. This may be accepted as clear proof that it advanced from the north, southwards and eastwards.

I assume that the smallest number of holes found in the

1 Culin, op. cit. pp. 598, 599.

2 Schweinfurth. The Heart of Africa, 3rd ed. p. 293. He describes the board as having 18 holes, but this includes the two end ones.

3 The Sacred City of the Ethiopians, p. 73.

4 The Ruined Cities of Mashona-land, p. 78.

5 L. Giethlen, Dahomey et Dépendances, p. 333. Burton, Mission

to Gelele, 1893, p. 226.

6 Partridge. Cross River Natives, pp. 8 and 259.

rocks in Ceylon, that is, 12 holes, which is also the most widelyspread number in Africa, was employed in the game when it was first played there, and probably also in India; and that in the early centuries after Christ, although the number was being increased it was still in a state of transition. The 14 holes that are now always used in both these countries evidently had not then been accepted as the definite figure for it.

Like other things, games doubtless advance from the simple to the complex; the smaller number of holes found at Karnak cannot have been derived from the early 12 holes of India and Ceylon. They appear to indicate a local and simpler form of the game of Egyptian origin, whether the holes at Kūrna and Gizeh are of very early date or not.

Judging by the name given to the game in Colombo, it appears to have been re-introduced on the western coast of Ceylon by Malay immigrants, possibly at a time when a considerable force of Malays invaded the country and occupied that part of the coast in the thirteenth century A.D.

The native expressions used for the game are peculiar, and they also afford some evidence of its spread into Ceylon from a country where it was played with date-stones. In Ceylon each cup is called a 'hole' (wala), or 'enclosure' (koṭuwa); the set of seven on each side being a 'row' (pila); and the seeds, although their real name is Olinda, are always termed 'Date' (indiya, pl. indi) while they are being used in the game. The verb which expresses their distribution along the holes is' to sow' (ihinawa), and when they are captured they are said to be eaten.' The verb (innawa) used to indicate their presence in the holes is only applied in other circumstances to living beings, and appears to be connected with the Arabic and Egyptian name for the shells that are used in place of seeds, viz. 'Dogs.' Holes into which seeds must not be played are said to be 'blind.' Among the Tamils and the Low-country Sinhalese the cowry shells that are used are termed 'Dogs'; they are 'sown' in the holes, and capturing them is eating' them.

Similarly, in West Africa I found that among the Mandinkō, although the name of the seeds used in the game is Lenkō, this expression is not applied to them while playing, but

they are then known as Worō, which is also the name of the game. Placing them in the holes is 'sowing' them, and capturing them is called eating' them.

By the Egyptians and Arabs the cowry shells with which the game is played are known as 'Dogs' (kelab); yet as in Ceylon and West Africa, placing them in the holes is termed sowing them, and when captured they are said to be eaten' (akalto). These facts support the opinion as to the derivation of the game from Egypt or Arabia. The question as to which of the two countries originated it will be considered after it has been described.

It is surprising to find that almost every country where the game is known has its own special mode of playing it, an additional proof of its antiquity. Ceylon is no exception to this rule; and among the Sinhalese there are no less than five different methods, four of which are found in the interior among the Kandians, and one on the western coast. The favourite game of the Kandian Sinhalese is called Puhulmutu; the others are Walak-pussa, Koṭu-baendum, and Daramutu. Each requires two players, who sit on mats on opposite sides of the board, which is always placed on the ground or on a mat, and in each game the person who captures all the seeds is the victor.

The games are especially played at the season of the New Year, with which they appear to have some connection that I have been unable to ascertain. At that season Olinda boards that have never seen the light during the previous twelve months are invariably brought out of their hiding places on some dark dust-covered and smoke-begrimed shelf, and hour after hour is devoted to the game for several nights in succession. It is almost a monopoly of the women. According to their own expression some of them play it until they are blind. The boards are then put away carefully, and often are not used again for another year, though there is no feeling of any prohibition against playing it at other times, and occasional games are sometimes indulged in

In all four games four seeds are first placed in each of the 14 holes; and the game is finished if it end in a draw,' or when a

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