Antique Marble Moksha Patam (Snakes &Ladders) Board Game, Circa late 1800
Moksha Patam board game: 80cm x 80cm marble board with snakes & ladders, representing spiritual journey.


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Circa late 1800

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Width: 80cmHeight: 80cmDepth: 6cmWeight: 97kg

About the product

This 80cm x 80cm stunning Marble Moksha Patam, with 12 ladders and 11 snakes in its traditional colour scheme, is also known as the Game of Self Inquiry. It is an ancient Indian board game that holds significant cultural and spiritual importance. The renowned Indian poet Saint Gyandev invented Moksha Patam, in the 13th century and it is considered a precursor to the modern-day game of Snakes and Ladders.

Similar to the Muslim Sufi boards from the late 17th and early 18th centuries and the later simplified Western version, this board too has 100 squares, traditionally representing the number of names of god, with 101 signifying the throne of Allah. The big snake seen on number 99, also follows traditional conventions of this particular snake symbolizing lust as the greatest evil, with the largest fall, having the piece of the player come directly down to number 10, and endeavour all over again.

With numbers written in the Devanagari script, several motifs are scattered across the board, such as the Veena representing Sarasvati, the Damru representing Shiva, the Bow and Arrow representing Rama, a Bansuri representing Krishna, a fish symbolizing the Matsya avatar of Vishnu, along with sacred flowers and leaves such as the Bel Patra representing the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. What makes this marble board truly unique is the material it's made of. Moksha Patam or Gyan Chausar have largely been made out of paper and cloth, so marble board is undoubtedly a collector's piece

Some scholars attribute the origins of the game to Jain invention, since ladders - a symbol for the ascent of the soul have been central to the Jain conception of the spiritual path. At the same time, the design also bears many similarities to spatial concepts inherent in Jain theories of transit of the soul, through which the souls move from one rebirth to the next.
No matter which variant, be it Jain, Buddhist, Muslim, or Hindu, the game's premise remains the same the spiritual quest for liberation from the hindrances of passions and vices.

With its exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail, the Moksha Patam board becomes a visually captivating centrepiece. Whether displayed as a decorative piece or used for gameplay, it serves as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage and spiritual wisdom associated with the game.