Thursday, August 16, 2001

Regarding ludology, it so happens I came across Diffusionism and ludology: geomantic divination and mankala board-games (Web-book) by Wim van Binsbergen in which he uses this term. The book was first published at the 1995 International Colloquium Board-games in Academia, Leiden, 9-13 April, 1995. Its a comparative study on board games and divination in Africa and Asia. Wim van Binsbergen writes:

"I wish moreover to register my indebtedness to the following persons and institutions: the ASC and the NIAS for funds towards assistance in the translation of al-Zanati’s work (crucial for the history of Islamic geomancy); my friend Rafat Badawy for generously providing such assistance; Alex de Voogt for introducing me to the literature on mankala; the librarians of the ASC, Leiden, the NIAS and of the Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgium, for making every effort to satisfy my voracious and omnivorous library needs; Frans Wiggermann for feeding me with stimulating Assyriological literature on board-games, to which I hope to do more justice in a sequel to the present argument. Irving Finkel made a commitment, as far back as Spring 1995, to publish this argument in his forthcoming Ancient board-games, an edited volume to appear with British Museum Press based on a conference held in 1990; while his enthusiasm for my first steps in ludology was heart-warming, the bok has not year materialised and I now take the liberty to publish, via Internet, a piece which is not only dear to me but which also, as long as it was not published, leaves many many months of hard work unaccounted for."

and later on...

"The scholarly literature on board-games continues to be dominated by Murray’s (1913, 1952) classic works History of chess and History of board-games other than chess. In the wake of these studies, also subsequent work on board-games has tended to keep aloof of any consideration of the relation between board-games and divination.1 This is all the more remarkable since around the turn of the nineteenth century the pioneering ludological works by the American museum anthropologist Culin (1991, 1893-1896, 1898) had claimed that divination was the origin of board-games."

Rather interesting to see, how this term suddenly pops up.


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