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Evidence for Puhulmutu

1 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.1386
Type Ethnography
Location Sri Lanka
Date 1909-01-01 - 1909-12-31
Rules 2x7 board with two stores. Four counters in each hole. Sowing occurs in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction; the first player chooses the direction and all subsequent moves are made in that direction. Players sow beginning from holes in their row. In the course of sowing, a player cannot sow into a hole containing three counters; if one is encountered, it is skipped and the counter is sowed into the next hole without three. If the final counter falls into a hole containing three counters, the contents of the hole are captured and the contents of the next hole are picked up and sowing continues. Otherwise, if the last counter falls into a hole with counters, these are picked up and sowing continues, or if it falls into an empty hole the turn ends. The round ends when one player's holes are empty. Second round begins with the winner of the first round placing four counters in each of their holes, leaving any surplus in the store. The loser, starting from one end of the row, places four counters into as many holes as possible, leaving any extra in the store. The holes which cannot be filled are excluded from play for the round. A twig or piece of straw are often placed over it to indicate this. The losing player begins the round, moving in the direction of the excluded holes, and played in the same way as the first round. Rounds three and above: The winner of round two places four counters in as many of their holes as possible, and the remaining counters in the next hole. If it contains one, it is called puta, if two, naga, if three, wala. Holes with no counters are excluded from play for this round. If the loser has a puta hole, the opponent removes one counter from their hole opposite; if a naga, the opponent removes two from the opposite hole, if a wala, the opponent removes three. The removed counters go into their store. puta and naga holes are marked with a piece of paper or straw in them. Empty holes are excluded as before. The player with excluded holes begins play in the direction of the excluded hole. Counters cannot be captured or sowed from puta or naga holes. Play continues as before. When one player has fewer than twelve counters, they may arrange them differently at the beginning of a round. They may put one or two counters in one end hole and not more than four in the other end hole, and one or two counters in the intermediate holes, leaving some empty and, thus, excluded. The opponent then puts four counters in each of their holes. There are no puta, naga, or wala holes in this round. The player with more counters plays as before, but the one with less has captures that are determined by the number of counters placed in the first end hole. If there were two in the end hole, the player captures when dropping the final counter into a hole to make it three; or when it makes two if there was one counter in the first end hole. Otherwise, the player does not sow in holes with one or two counters. Throughout the game, singletons cannot be moved is a player has a hole with multiple counters, and a singleton in the front hole cannot be moved if there are other singletons in the player's row. Play continues until one player has no counters.
Content "Puhulmutu, ‘Ash-pumpkin Pearls.’ In this game the player takes the five seeds out of the hole into which the last one fell, and in the same way as before sows them one by one in the next and the following holes, going on round the board in this manner until the final seed falls into an empty hole, called puhuwala, or pussa, on which the player stops, or ‘sits down.’ His opponent then begins at any hole on his own side, and plays in exactly the same manner until the last seed of those which he is sowing also falls into an empty hole, after which the first player begins afresh at any hole on his own side of the board, and repeats the sowing. When a hole has three seeds in it, it must be passed over without receiving any seeds, excepting, in its proper order, the last seed of the set which a player is sowing. When this falls into such a hole he captures the four which are now in that hole (tun-indin kanawa, "eats (them) because of the three dates ’), and puts them aside in his separate enclosure provided for them at one end or side of the board. He then takes the seeds of the next hole, if there be any, and sows them as before, and continues his play round the board ; but if the next hole to that at which he effected the capture be empty his turn is ended, and he ‘ sits down.' The opponent now resumes his play, beginning at any hole on his own side, and plays in the same way. Towards the latter part of the round a single seed in the last hole on a player’s side cannot be taken as the starting-point if any other hole on his side of the board contain one, or more than one. When all the seeds on one player's side of the board have been captured, or more correctly when a player is left without seeds in his row of holes on his turn’s coming to play, the round is ended. Each player then again arranges his seeds in fours in the cup-holes, taking for the purpose any that were left in the holes on his side of the board, together with those captured by him. Any surplus ones are left in the rectangular hole belonging to him. It will almost always be found that one player possesses fewer seeds than the other. If they have equal numbers (termed hari mutu, "equal pearls"), it is optional to consider the game ended in a 1 draw.’ But if one player have fewer than the other the game must be continued. After they are replaced in the holes, in case a player be without seeds at only one hole he is said to be a ‘ person blind of one eye' ( ekas hand) ; if at two holes, a ‘ person blind of two eyes 1 (daes hand) ; if at three holes, he has no special name, but his side of the board is described as ' four-eye,' referring to the four cups which alone contain seeds ; if there are only seeds for three holes it is * three-eye ’ ; if for two holes, ' two-eye 1 ; if for one hole, ' one-eye/ The player whose seeds are deficient is said to have 'become blind’ ( kana weld). This nomenclature is applied in all the four games. The ' blind ’ person must now commence the play, sowing the seeds in the direction of his empty holes, which are left at one end of his row, and are marked by bits of twig or straw being placed across them to indicate that they are * blind. During the whole of the round no seeds can be placed in the ' blind ’ holes by either player. In other respects the procedure in this and subsequent rounds is exactly the same as in the first one, with the exceptions to be now noted. In all the four Kandian forms of the Olinda game, when the player whose seeds are deficient finds on placing the usual four seeds in the holes at a fresh 4 round ’ that he ends with only one seed for the last hole, this seed is termed his ' son ’ (puta) ; if he have two seeds for it they are called ' younger sister’ (naga) ; if three seeds they are his 'slave’ (mala). Although seeds are sown as usual, by both players, into these three holes those in the first two, containing a puta or naga. cannot be taken out and sown, and are also free from capture throughout all that round, and continue to accumulate for the benefit of their owner ; but those in the wala hole have not this privilege, and are sown and captured as usual. In its case the name is only a descriptive expression, and does not affect the play. To balance these privileged holes the opponent removes one, two, or three seeds respectively from his last hole before the play begins afresh, so as to make up the sum of four when those left in the hole are added to the seeds in the ‘ blind ’ person’s last hole. Thus, if the latter player have a puta, his opponent must end with a wala, or vice versa ; and if he have a naga the other must also have a naga. The same names and privileges apply to these holes on both sides of the board. The puta and naga holes are distinguished from the rest by having some mark, such as a bit of paper or straw, placed in them. As the seeds in these cups cannot be taken out and sown, the turn of the player whose last one falls into either of them comes to an end. When a player finds himself left with less than twelve seeds at the beginning of a round, he has the option of arranging them among the holes in his row in a different manner. He may place two seeds, or only one seed, in each hole, beginning from one end of the row of holes, the last hole on his side in that case receiving any surplus seeds, not exceeding four. For instance, if he have nine seeds, and if, as is usually the case, they be playing to the right, he will place two in each of the four holes on the left ; the next two holes will be left empty, and are 1 blind ' and cannot be played into ; and the ninth seed will be placed in the last hole on the right. The opponent’s distribution is unaffected by this, and he places the usual four seeds in the holes in his row. The game now becomes rather complicated, as the two persons play in different ways. The opponent plays and effects captures in the usual manner ; but the ' blind ’ player only makes a capture when his last seed falls into a hole containing two seeds, whether on his own or the opposite side of the board, in which case he takes the three. If he placed one seed in each hole at the commencement of the round he would make captures when his last seed fell into a hole which contained only one. Otherwise, excepting when playing his last seed, all such holes on both sides of the board with two seeds or one seed, respectively, are passed over by him and do not receive seeds from him when sowing, although his opponent sows into them. On the other hand, the * blind * player no longer passes over the holes with three seeds, but sows his seeds into each of them. As a general result of this mode of playing, the person who was 4 blind ’ often regains his lost seeds, even when he has been reduced to one seed at the beginning of a round, and the game becomes nearly interminable, and may last for hours. In order to bring it to an end quickly, a method termed 'Cutting Ash-pumpkins' ( puhul kapanawa) is sometimes adopted. According to it the player who is deficient borrows a seed out of each of the last two holes on his opponent's side, and places these in the adjoining two holes on his own side. He must then begin his play at the next or third hole ; and the borrowed seeds are returned when his opponent is about to commence sowing. There is another method of cutting short the game by a player's moving a seed, or two, on the opponent's side, and then commencing to sow from other holes than the first three on his own side." Parker 1909: 594.
Confidence 100
Spaces Inside
Source Parker, H. 1909. Ancient Ceylon. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services.

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