original and unusually large american depression era hand-painted pine wood folk art rounded edge hallow cube-shaped die with black "pips" against a weathered white paint finish


UR #:: UR-27520-18

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Product Description

unique handcrafted antique american depression era oversized folk art cube-shaped die. the original hand-painted white background with black circular patches (also known as "pips") remains largely intact. comprised of pine wood. typical surface wear and crazing consistent with age. contains a hollow interior with exterior faces numbered one through six. unidentified artist. the oldest known dice were excavated as part of a 5000-year-old backgammon set at the burnt city, an archeological site in south-eastern iran. other excavations from ancient tombs in the indus valley civilization indicate a south asian origin. dicing is mentioned as an indian game in the rigveda, atharvaveda and buddha games list; it also plays a critical role in the great hindu epic mahabharata, where yudhisthira plays a game of dice against the kauravas for the northern kingdom of hastinapura, which becomes the trigger for a war. there are several biblical references to "casting lots", as in psalm 22, indicating that dicing was commonplace in the region during king david's reign. knucklebones was a skill game played by women and children; a derivative form had the four sides of the bone receive different values and count as modern dice. gambling with two or three dice was a very popular form of amusement in greece, especially with the upper classes, and an invariable accompaniment to symposia. dice were originally made from the talus of hoofed animals, colloquially known as "knucklebones". these are approximately tetrahedral, giving the term "bones" used for dice. modern mongolians still use such bones as shagai, for games and fortunetelling. besides bone, materials like ivory, wood and recently plastics like cellulose acetate have been used. dice are hard to differentiate from knucklebones because ancient writers confused the two, but both were used in prehistoric times. the romans were passionate gamblers, especially at the peak of the roman empire, and dicing was common though forbidden except during the saturnalia. horace derided what he thought as a typical youth of the period, who wasted time on dicing instead of horse-chasing. throwing dice for money was the cause of many special laws in rome; one of these stated that no lawsuit could be filed by a person who allowed gambling in his house, even if he had been cheated or assaulted. professional gamblers were common; some of their loaded dice are preserved in museums. the public houses were the resorts of gamblers, and frescos exist showing two quarrelling dicers being ejected by the host. twenty-sided dice date back to the 2nd century ad. tacitus stated that the germans were passionately fond of dicing, so much that they would stake their personal liberty when bankrupt. during the middle ages, dicing became the favorite pastime of the knights, with dicing schools and guilds. after the downfall of feudalism, the landsknechts established a reputation as the most notorious dicing gamblers of their time; many of the dice then were curiously carved in the images of men and beasts. in france, dicing was played by both knights and ladies, despite repeated legislation, including interdictions on the part of st. louis in 1254 and 1256. the markings on chinese dominoes evolved from the markings on dice. measures 7 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches.