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Congklak, The Traditional Games Of Indonesia One of the most fascinating things about living in Indonesia is the discovery

of bits of Indonesian culture which are actually not Indonesian at all, but originate in other lands. For centuries, the Indonesian archipelago has been visited by traders from many corners of the world who sell and buy spices. Together with the items they brought to sell, these traders brought bits of their culture along with them as well. Congklak has its origins in either Africa or the Arab world, depending on which scholar's theory you choose to believe. Some of the oldest evidence was found in National Geographic-sponsored archaeological diggings dating back to 7,000 to 5,000 BC in presentday Jordan. Excavations of a house uncovered a limestone slab with two parallel rows of circular depressions. The layout was easily recognizable to an archaeologist on the dig as the Congklak playing board. The earliest recorded writings describing the game were found in references to Mancala in Arab religious texts dating to the Middle Ages. Some scholars believe that the game originated in the Middle East and spread from there to Africa. Then, the game spread to Asia with Arab traders and came to the Caribbean around 1640 via the African slave trade. Other experts place the origins in Central Africa. In Indonesia, Congklak is known by different names from region to region. The most common name, Congklak, is taken from the cowrie shell, which is commonly used to play the game. In Malaysia, the game is known as congkak, a name that is used in many Sumatran provinces as well due to the Malays culture. In Java, the game is known as Congklak, dakon, dhakon or dhakonan. In Lampung, the game is called, dentuman lamban. In Sulawesi, the game is referred to as Mokaotan, Maggaleceng, Aggalacang and Nogarata. Historical references to Congklak refer to the game played by young girls of Javanese nobility. It is most likely that foreign traders, due to their close contact with the upper classes, introduced Congklak to them. With the passage of time, Congkla' s popularity grew until its now widely played by the common people as well. In most regions, Congklak play is limited

to young girls, teens and women in their leisure time and its seen as a 'girl's game'. In only a few regions is Congklak played by men and boys as well. In Sulawesi, historically, the game was reserved for play only during grieving periods, after the death of a loved one. It was considered taboo to play the game at any other time. In Central Java, in pre-historic times, Congklak was used by farmers to calculate the seasons, to know when to plant and harvest, as well as to predict the future. The Congklak playing board is made from wood, with variations from island to island in the number of holes on each side, either 5, 6, 7 or 9 holes. All the boards have two 'store house' holes, one on each end. The design varies from simple, unadorned woods, to boatshaped boards, to highly decorated playing boards. Most, however, are made of relatively plain wood. In Lampung, village children often play without a board, but instead create their own playing area by scooping out holes in the ground and collecting stones or seeds each time they want to play. Congklak can be played using seeds, shells, stones, smooth pebblers, etc. Seeds which is often used for playing congklak is tamarind, kemiri, and sawos seeds. The widespread popularity of Congklak around the world can undoubtedly be attributed in part to the simplicity of the materials used to play the game. Congklak, in all its variations, continues to attract dedicated players as well as craftsmen, mathematicians, programmers and collectors of regional art and handicrafts. These prove that Congklak is a challenging game of patience and skill. Sumber: http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congklak http://www.expat.or.id/info/congklak.html http://www.expat.or.id/info/games.html Aristi Audri Triani TIP 2010

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