History of the Congkak
In the Malay Archipelago, the congkak
is an ubiquitous icon embodying Malay culture and heritage, containing much cultural significance to locals in the region.
This popular traditional Malay game is made from wood and often elaborately carved. It shares its roots with a more well-known African game called mancala
, which is played all over Sub-Saharan Africa to the extent of being described as the National Game of Africa. Various forms of mancala
are also played in the Middle East and other regions, dating back to thousands of years ago.
A physical manifestation of the connections between the Malay Archipelago and other continents, it is thought that African or Arab traders brought congkak
to this region where it was then localized, absorbing the symbolism and values of the Malay community.