[ANCIENT GAMES / THE CHESS OF THE WISES: OR, THE CHECKERS WITH SNAKES] Manuscript "Satranc-i urefâ" game board on the paper.
[SATRANC-I UREFÂ - THE CHECKERS WITH SNAKES - THE CHESS OF THE WISES - ARIFLERIN SANTRANCI].
Manuscript On Paper With Handcoloured Squares And Borderlines., [ca. 1890-1910], Np. 1900.
Original manuscript ancient game titled 'Satranc-i Urefâ' on paper with hand-colored squares. Paper size: 50x37 cm; manuscript board size: 34x34 cm. In Ottoman script. A very rare early manuscript copy of "Satranc-i Urefa" with only five known printing boards including ones in modern and contemporary prints. In each frame, there are 100 possible steps that the player who has set off towards the 'Kemâl' [i.e. Perfection] will come through, and each of them contains very different combinations that the player (passenger) will interpret during his journey. Every concept has mystic meanings. The player who starts from the first square "Zillet" [i.e. Humiliattion] tries to reach "Visâl" [i.e. Nirvana] at the end of the game. While the arrows on some steps take the player up, the venomous snakes on some of them cause the player to fall down. The game, which was first thought to be found by Muhyiddin b. Arabi, (1165-1240), in the 12th-13th century, is more than a game prepared to kill leisure time, it is a "plate of wisdom" that shows the traps and gifts encountered in the spiritual journey of man. The most well-known copy, which was printed and reproduced with the lithography technique during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid, (1876-1909), had a beautiful line and was presented to the market with the phrase "Bayezid'de Maliye karsisinda 40 numarali dükkânda furuht olunur (satilir)". (Source: Satranc-i Urefa, Çaglar, Yusuf). The names of some of the squares on this ancient game board, which have 101 squares in some copies and 100 (as we have): "Zillet, Teesüf, Reca, Gavga, Gurbet, Sohbet-i Seg, Riza, Istigna, Merhamet, Cefa, Devam, Agyar, Akl, Nifak, Gûy-i Cânân, Ümid, Tecrübe, Iftihar, Kazâ, Hâlet ve Visâl", etc. Although the path to reach Visal ['Nirvana' in the Eastern philosophy] determines the game, in some cases the player may not reach this last square at all. Although the top row with two giant snakes is the closest to Visal, it is the most dangerous place, where the player (passenger) who hits these snakes at any moment may have to return (fall) back to the starting lines. A unique and beautiful manuscript ancient and mystic board game. Extremely rare.