Mancala Board [Object of the Day #29]

July 26, 2012

Mancala Board
Mancala Board

This object is a three-row folding Mancala board made from two galutta boards. Upon each board are 9 circular depressions and one projecting arm. The board’s purpose is a platform upon which Mancala is played, a game popular in African regions such as Ethiopia.

Mancala is played by using a number of counters, usually in the form of seeds, shells, or small stones. Moves are made by grabbing the counters contained in one of the board’s circular depressions and spreading them (one each) in the following holes. Most commonly, the object of the game is to end up with the largest number of counters. Different versions of the game are found in a widespread of geographical regions. Each version has a slight variation on the board’s design and rules of the game.

To find out more about Mancala, including the variations known as Warri, Bao, Conka, Owela, read the Expedition magazine article Mancala: Games the Count by Alex de Voogt.

Penn Museum Object #20291.

See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database.