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Evidence for Barjiss

1 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.1603
Type Ethnography
Location Lebanon
Date 1998-04-01 - 1998-04-30
Rules Four 3x8 rectangles, arranged into a cross-shaped board. Two players. Four pieces per player. Six cowrie shells, used as dice. The following throws are known: one mouth up alows a piece to enter the board, six mouths up grants the player another throw.
Content "2. The Lebanon Barjiss was invariably recognised whenever men in the souqs were asked about the game. It was observed for sale in a children’s games shop (Tyre), a sportswear shop that also sold inlaid wooden backgammon boards (Tyre), a ladies’ dress shop (Tripoli, near Khan al-Misriyeen) and a dress and curio shop (Tripoli, “Tailors’ Khan”). One man in Tyre suggested that we try to find it in Beirut where they have “Syrian barjiss.” Mahmud Sha’aban, another gentleman in the souq at Tyre who ran a small shop selling childrens’ games, had one example (bought); he thought the cloths were made in Lebanon, but knew that the game was also played in Syria. He stated that the game was played by men and women alike – including himself – but that it was less popular now than it used to be; he also briefly explained the rules. The game is for two players only; a single upright cowry (dost) allows entry onto the board, whereas throws of 2-4 upright cowries are referred to by Arabic numbers and 5 is referred to as benj. A throw of 6 allows a double move; a throw where the cowries are upside down is referred to as shaki. Another shop- owner (Tripoli, “Tailors’ Khan”), who also sold and played the game, recalled that he only knew this type of cloth and that he had played the game at home since he was a child; these cloths he affirmed to be locally made in Tripoli, where we certainly observed a strong Ottoman influence on the embroidery styles on contemporary machine-embroidered dresses and gowns. Significantly, the cloth board purchased from Yazbek (Tyre) is iden- tical to examples observed for sale in Tripoli (“Tailors’ Khan”) that were said to be made in Tripoli itself; the brass gaming-pieces themselves are identical to pieces sold in Syria." Finkel 2002: 65-66.
Confidence 100
Ages All
Social status Non-Elite
Genders Female, Male
Source Finkel, I. 2002. "Pachisi in Arab Garb." Board Game Studies 5: 65-78.

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