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1815 Basset Jeux de L'Oie or Around the World Board Game


Jeu Instructif des Peuples et Costumes des Quatre Parties du Monde et des Terres Australes.
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Title:    Jeu Instructif des Peuples et Costumes des Quatre Parties du Monde et des Terres Australes.

Description:    A scarce 1815 French geographically themed board game or jeux de l'oie (Game of Goose) produce by the French publishing house of Basset. In the spirit of snakes-and-ladders, the jeu de l'oie is a unicursal race game played with two dice and tokens. The present example consists of a voyage around the world, from China to France, in 63 squares, each representing different locations and cultures. The instructions for the game are located at the center of the spiral. Such games were popular in France in the 18th and early 19th centuries with some 19 known variants, including the present example.

The games follows the traditional spiral form of the jeux de l'oie as established in Italy during the late 16th century. Most such games consist of 63 squares, a system derived from Kabalistic teachings, arranged in a spiral. Most squares represent progress towards an ultimate destination at the center of the board, square 63. Some squares involve hazards, bonuses, or penalties. These are standardized across most such boards, though vary in content. In the present example the board has the standard notable squares,
  • 6. Traditionally a bridge, here represented by Mexico or Central America. Advance to square 12.
  • 19. Traditionally an inn or hotel, here represented by the hospitable peoples of Tahiti. Wait 2 turns.
  • 31. Traditionally a well, here represented by Siberia, a place of exile for Russians. Wait until another reaches this point and exchange places.
  • 42. Traditionally a maze, here represented by Japan were navigators are refused entry. Return to square 39.
  • 52. Traditionally a prison, here represented by enslavement on the Barbary Coast. Wait until another reaches this point and exchange places.
  • 58. Traditionally death, here represented by being captured and eaten by the anthropophagi of New Zealand. Return to square 1.
As explained by game historian Adrian Seville,
Each game goes beyond simple cartographic representation to convey, through its rules or iconography, a deliberate 'message', whether political, commercial or cultural. The games give insights into international relationships, perceptions and misconceptions at various points in the history of Europe. (Seville, A. The geographical Jeux de l'Oie of Europe, BELGEO, 2008 , 3-4)
The present map is no exception. European squares are generally presented as superior to non-European squares, which, as we have seen above, may involve being eaten or enslaved. The ultimate destination is France, which is represented by an illustration of Henri IV, certainly a curious choice given that Napoleon had just been defeated. Certainly the mapmaker does not want to associate himself with the Revolutionary era and is instead harkening back to the glory days of the monarchy, as represented by the much admired Henry IV. Basset was, it seems, a Restoraitonist, or at least wanted to distance himself from the debacle of Napoleon's defeat. The numbers squares and vignettes are, as follows:
  1. China (Asia)
  2. Peru (South America)
  3. Hindustan (India)
  4. Lapland (Europe)
  5. England (Europe)
  6. Mexico (Central America) View the rope bridge.
  7. New Holland (Australia)
  8. Kamchatka (Asia)
  9. Russia (Europe)
  10. Guinea (Africa)
  11. Hottentots (Africa)
  12. Inhabitants edge of the River of the Amazons (South America)
  13. Jagos (Africa)
  14. Sweden (Europe)
  15. Greece (Asia)
  16. Cochin China (Asia)
  17. Greenland (Arctic Lands)
  18. Prussia (Europe)
  19. Otaheite Ile d '(South Sea) Islanders offer hospitality to the traveler
  20. Calmucks (Asia)
  21. Persia (Asia)
  22. Armenia (Asia)
  23. Germany (Europe)
  24. Saudi (Asia)
  25. Pegu (Asia)
  26. Tibet (Asia)
  27. Denmark (Europe)
  28. Siam (Asia)
  29. Egypt (Africa)
  30. Abyssinia (Africa)
  31. Siberia (Asia) Place of exile for Russians
  32. Switzerland (Europe)
  33. Nigritia (Africa)
  34. Iroquois (Amer. September)
  35. Caffres (Africa)
  36. Netherlands (Europe)
  37. Madagascar (Africa)
  38. Brazil (Amer. Merid)
  39. New Guinea (South Seas)
  40. Guiana (Amer. Merid)
  41. Hungary (Europe)
  42. Japan (Asia) Navigator denied entry
  43. Nubia (Africa)
  44. Tartars Cazan (Asia)
  45. Turkey (Europe)
  46. California (Amer. September)
  47. Chile (Amer. September)
  48. Korea (Asia)
  49. Great Tartary (Asia)
  50. Spain (Europe)
  51. Moluccas (Asia)
  52. Barbary (Africa) Traveler reduced to slavery
  53. Sumatra (Asia)
  54. Portugal (Europe)
  55. Java Island (Asia)
  56. Tierra del Fuego (Amer. Merid)
  57. Paraguay (Amer. Merid)
  58. New Zealand (Southern Lands) about to be eaten by cannibals
  59. Italy (Europe)
  60. Mogul Empire (Asia)
  61. Nootka Sound (Amer. Merid)
  62. Tschurtschi (Asia)
  63. France. 'Vive Henri IV, live the valiant King'


Date:    1815 (undated)

References:    Seville, A. The geographical Jeux de l'Oie of Europe, BELGEO, 2008 , 3-4

Cartographer:    Andre Basset (or Bassett) (fl. c. 1720 - 1865) was a well-known French family of publishers and engravers active on the Rue St. Jacques, Paris, during the 18th and 19th centuries. Basset was best known for the production of low cost optical views of European cities and events. However, the firm also produced games, maps, and other prints. Andre Basset most likely died around 1785 when the firm was taken over by his son Andre Paul Basset. Click here for a list of rare maps by Maison Basset.

Size:   Printed area measures 25 x 19 inches (63.5 x 48.26 centimeters)

Condition:    Good condition. Some soling and creasing. Minor verso repair of split.

Code:   JeuInstructif-basset-1815 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

Tags:    Jeux de L'Oie , Game , Basset , Map Game

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