Dogon Mancala Board

  • Tribe: Dogon
  • Origin: Mali
  • Approx Age: 19th Century
  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions cm: 71 long x 14 wide
  • Ref. Number: 0913

An amazing and ancient Dogon Mancala Board from the ex collection of Seward Kennedy. This truly shows years of serious use and age, the pots have extensive wear from pulling out the seeds from the hollows and worn down the sides.

Photo taken from MMM’s “Everything is Possible”


Mancala within the Dogon tribe are handed down from generation to generation as gifts or once someone has passed away, so these games are normally  kept within a family for many years until they do not function in the way they are meant to. Due to the age of this piece and that a piece has worn away / broken, this is possibly why this was obtainable.

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Oware/Mancala game board. Photo Credit: Adam Cohn


Mancala games/boards differ from region to region in style of the board and construction for example some Mancala boards have legs and feet, ornate bases and the number of hollows may vary. This Dogon Mancala displays a set of 12 playing hollows with hollows at either end.  A beautiful, old and authentic piece of every day used Dogon  entertainment.

Dogon Mancala

Mancala is a generic name for a family of 2-player turn-based strategy board games played with small stones or seeds and rows of holes or pits in the earth, a board or other playing surface. The objective is usually to capture all or some set of the opponent’s stones. Versions of the game have been played for at least hundreds of years around the world.

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Mancala Board game played throughout Africa although the style of board differs from tribe to tribe.


The name mancala is a classification or type of game, rather than any specific game. Other easily recognized names for this game include Oware, Awari and Warri are but a few. Some of the most popular mancala games with regard to distribution area, the numbers of players and tournaments. Although more than 800 names of traditional mancala games are known, some names denote the same game, while some names are used for more than one game. Almost 200 modern invented versions have also been described.

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Credit: Cultura Travel/Philip Lee Harvey