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Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

More fun, more often, for more people and other living things.

Knucklebones - from artifact to archetype

There's a significantly informed site devoted to Roman Board Games. The site includes a description of a game called "Tali," which was played with, yes, the knucklebones of sheep or goats.

Apparently, these bones are almost cubical, and have four different, easily distinguishable sides. Which makes them perfect as remarkably dice-like objects - objects of play whose origins are potentially prehistoric - objects of play that are still being played with in places like, well, Mongolia (see this image from the movie "The Story of the Weeping Camel.")

It also happens that my column, "Life of the Party," will soon be appearing in a new magazine, also called "Knucklebones."

Coincidence, you say? Yet one more demonstration, I respond, of how a good play thing, like a good work of art, can reach beyond time and design, origin and culture, ultimately to be transformed from artifact to archetype.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your new column! I'd like to subscribe to the mag but gee-whiz, $25/year is a bit expensive! Do you have a promo code we could enter for a discount? -- Peace, Noise

 
Anonymous said...

Am looking for some natural bone knucklebones to use in a program for elemetary age students about games from around the globe. Unfortunately, I live in a large metropolitan area and no local butcher shops deal in whole carcus meat anymore. Even tried a small animal processing plant. The little bones and hooves go off with the hide---to do "whatever" with. Any suggestions? I'd rather have the kids actually handeling bone than the plastic "Crazy Bones" version with faces and personalities. Any ideas?
blittle@ci.aurora.co.us

 

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