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Oceanie card from the game Le Tour de Monde

Date: c 1840
Overall: 81 x 117 x 15 mm
Medium: Ink on paper, wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Card
Object No: 00030409
Place Manufactured:Paris
Related Place:Australia,

User Terms

    A card from the French board game 'Le Tour De Monde' [Trip Around the World] published by Charles Letaille.

    The card is an 'Oceanie' [Oceania] picture card featuring a black and white image of an indigenous camp with a shelter in the background.
    Text reads 'Oceanie. Australie ou Nelle Hollande - Indigenes allumant du feu'.
    [Oceania. Australia or New Holland - Indigenous person lighting a fire].

    Australia or New Holland - Indigenous lighting fire
    SignificanceGames such as this were an important means whereby under the guise of play children can comprehend the extent of the French colonial empire. Equally, it's fascinating to see how images of exploration, swirl about, changing and transforming, the further they travel from their original source and reconfirming the 19th century French view of the world.

    HistoryAs simple as this children's board game may appear, it reveals much about 19th century French society. This was a period of the rise of the middle class in Europe which meant a growth in leisure time and money to spend on leisure items. As a response to this new market, publishers such as Charles Letaille and map makers began to commercially manufacture games aimed at families and children.

    These games were relatively cheap to produce and early topics were predominantly moralistic or educational. Quite dull to modern children! Parents were attracted to the idea that children could learn through play and as time went on games became more nationalistic and encompassing.

    Based on current events and the competition between European countries to expand their influence over the world, games often involved races around the globe to reach foreign countries before other players. This relatively simple concept reflected Europeans commercial and racial attitudes to 'others'. Depictions and language used in these games were usually negative in their colonial approach. By playing these games children absorbed the contemporary ideas of their country's dominance and the state of the wider world through political and economic eyes.

    Towards the end of the 19th century the idea of the 'child leisure culture' was firmly established and many games were produced for the purpose of purely entertaining children rather than educating them.

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