Indonesia  (Asia)

Indonesia. Rama is the main protagonist or hero of the Ramayana tale. Portrayed as the seventh avatar of god Vishnu and as the epitome of virtue, he is the eldest and favourite son of Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya and his chief queen, Kausalya. Dasharatha is forced by Kaikeyi, the second of his three wives, to command Rama to relinquish his right to the throne and go into exile with his wife Sita. That lasted a period of fourteen years. With help of Hanuman, Angada and king Sugriva - which were "Varana" what originally means forest man and now has become monkey - Rama kills the evil and powerful demon king Ravana, who abducted his wife Sita, and later returns to Ayodhya to form an ideal state.

There are 6 Bali sets with this Ramayana theme listed here. The King is Rama, in most sets sitting on the Garuda, Queen is Sita and Bishop, Rook and pawns are the "Varana" (monkeys). Knight could be Ravana (normally shown as man with multiple heads and arms)? The quality of the carving of these sets varies greatly. The best carved sets can be very costly and you do not see those in my collection.

The 1st set is, according Munger, the old way to represent the Ramayana. The carving is simple but expressive. The 2nd set is a bit uncommon and like the 3rd set it is carved quite well, while the 1st coloured one is carved moderately and the 2nd coloured and the last uncoloured one aren't carved that well. But I have seen much worse too!

These sets are made for the tourist market and, except the 1st and 2nd one, are found in huge quantities. The quality of the 3rd set isn't seen that much either. They come often with a teak storage box annex board as shown at the last set. Sometimes there are legs that can be turned out so that the box can be used as a chess table as well.

The last Bali set does have primitively made disks and dices to play backgammon and checkers as well. Maybe some other game too, because there are 16 disks in each colour. Or is there just one spare?

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  • Indonesia, Bali, "Ramayana story"
  • 2nd half 20st century
  • Wood K 12.3; p 6.3
  • Indonesia, Bali, "Ramayana story"
  • 1970
  • Sawo + djati K 13.4+14.1; p 7.3-8.0
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  • Indonesia, Bali, "Ramayana story"
  • 1979
  • Paduk (or sawo?) + coromandel K 10.9; p 6.0
  • Box/board (later period) 38.3×18.6×8.3
  • Indonesia, Bali, "Ramayana story"
  • 1980
  • Wood K 12.8; p 6.6
  • Set was listed as from Thailand/Burma
  • Indonesia, Bali, "Ramayana story"
  • 1990
  • Wood K 9.4; p 4.6
  • Set was listed as from Thailand/Burma
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  • Indonesia, Bali, "Ramayana story"
  • 1990
  • Paduk K 10.3; p 4.9
  • Box/board 38.0×18.5×8.1

Indonesia. The theme of this Bali set isn't clear to me yet. But it probably goes about certain gods and of course the Garuda (Rook?). This set is carved moderately.

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  • Indonesia, Bali
  • 1980
  • Wood K 11.3; p 4.7
  • Box/board 45.5×22.3×9.0 (closed)

Indonesia. Sets from Java are always very colourful. This one too, but all pieces are quite monochrome. Also the figures are a bit unusual.

« 1 of 4 »
  • Indonesia, Java
  • 2010
  • Wood K 13.3; p 6.6