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Jiřina Todorovová

Abstract

The way in which the Czech public learned about exotic countries at the end of the 19th and 20th centuries was dependent above all on the ability of travellers to convey their experience in literary form, as travelogue, or to communicate their experiences directly – in lecture form. From the 1890s lectures were accompanied by the projection of slides. One of the best-known travellers, and an excellent lecturer, was Enrique Stanko Vráz (1860–1932). The Náprstek Museum holds an extensive collection of glass slides from his estate. Vráz filled the periods in between his various world travels with intensive lecture activity, and the themes of his lectures grew wider with the increasing number of journeys he undertook. Information gained from Vráz’s lectures had a marked effect on the outlook of broad swathes of the population of the Czech lands on the life and cultures of non-European areas.

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Pavel Onderka and Vlastimil Vrtal

Abstract

The eleventh excavation season of the Archaeological Expedition to Wad Ben Naga focused on the rescue excavations around the rail track intersecting the western part of the archaeological site, excavations around the so-called Circular Building (WBN 50), conservation of the Palace of Queen Amanishakheto (WBN 100) and other minor projects.

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J.P. Neto and J.N. Silva

Abstract

For games of complete information with no chance component, like Chess, Go, Hex, and Konane, some parameters have been identified that help us understand what makes a game pleasant to play. One of these goes by the name of drama.

Briefly, drama is linked to the possibility of recovering from a seemingly weaker position, if the player is strong enough. This is an important requirement to prevent initial advantages to be amplified into unavoidable and thus uninteresting victories. Drama is a feature that arguably good board games should have, since it is relevant in the perception of the play experience as pleasant.

Despite its intrinsic qualitative nature, we suggest the adaptation of the concept of drama to games of pure chance and propose a set of objective criteria to measure it. Some parameters are here used to compare Goose-like games, which we compute via computer simulation for some well-know games. A statistical analysis is performed based on the play of millions of matches done by computer simulation. The article discusses correlations and patterns found among the collected data. The methodology presented herein is general and can be used to compare other types of board games.

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Markéta Křížová

Abstract

The text aims to present the broader context and biography of Julius Nestler, an amateur archaeologist from Prague, who at the beginning of the twentieth century pursued excavations in the ruins of Tiahuanaco/Tiwanaku and brought to Prague a unique collection of about 3,600 pieces, now deposited in the Náprstek Museum in Prague. A biographical study of Nestler has revealed his wide interests. During the period of Czech-German competition in Bohemia he promoted “German science”. He cooperated with entrepreneurial groups in Germany that were trying to penetrate Latin America economically, as a Freemason actively capitalised on a transnational community of associates; and at the same time was an adherent to and propagator of occultism. All these facets of his personality shaped his activities in the recently-established field of Americanist archaeology.

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Josef Ženka

Abstract

In 1933, the newly founded Escuela de Estudios Árabes of Madrid printed Nykl’s edition of Dīwān Ibn Quzmān as its inaugural book. The Nykl papers held at the Náprstek Museum offer great insight into the working method of an orientalist of the first half of the 15th century. It is the aim of this article to demonstrate the author’s preparations and, through them, to analyze author’s working method, his relations to his predecessor Julián Ribera and reasons behind the final form of the book. The significant use of Nykl’s papers in the article demonstrates the importance of personal papers for mapping the writing and publishing processes.

Open access

Adrian Seville

Abstract

Simple race games, played with dice and without choice of move, are known from antiquity. In the late 16th century, specific examples of this class of game emerged from Italy and spread rapidly into other countries of Europe. Pre-eminent was the Game of the Goose, which spawned thousands of variants over the succeeding centuries to the present day, including educational, polemical and promotional variants.1

The educational variants began as a French invention of the 17th century, the earliest of known date being a game to teach Geography, the Jeu du Monde by Pierre Duval, published in 1645. By the end of the century, games designed to teach several of the other accomplishments required of the noble cadet class had been developed: History, the Arts of War, and Heraldry being notable among them.

A remarkable example of a game within this class is the astronomical game, Le Jeu de la Sphere ou de l’Univers selon Tycho Brahe, published in 1661 by E(s)tienne Vouillemont in Paris. The present paper analyses this game in detail, showing how it combines four kinds of knowledge systems: natural philosophy, based on the Ptolemaic sphere; biblical knowledge; astrology, with planetary and zodiacal influences; and classical knowledge embodied in the names of the constellations. The game not only presents all four on an equal footing but also explores links between them, indicating some acceptance of an overall knowledge-system. Despite the title, there is no evidence of the Tychonian scheme for planetary motion, nor of any Copernican or Galilean influence.

This game is to be contrasted with medieval race games, based on numerology and symbolism, and with race games towards the end of the Early Modern period in which science is fully accepted.

Open access

Harald Wiese

Abstract

Kauṭilya’s maṇḍala model has intrigued indologists and political scientists for some time. It deals with friendship and enmity between countries that are direct or indirect neighbours. (Ghosh; 1936) suggests a close relationship between this model and Indian four-king chess. We try to corroborate his claim by presenting a stylized game-theory model of both Indian four-king chess and Kauṭilya’s maṇḍala theory. Within that game model, we can deal with Kauṭilya’s conjecture according to which an enemy’s enemy is likely to be one’s friend. Arguably, this conjecture is reflected in the ally structure of four-king chess. We also comment on the widespread disapproval of dice in (four-king) chess.

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Milena Secká and Blanka Hnulíková

Abstract

The article introduces a collection of thirty three images, predominantly daguerreotypes, deposited in the collection department of the Náprstek Museum. They were made during the period from the end of the 1840s to the 1860s, partly in Europe and partly in the United States of America, as the private collection of Vojta Náprstek and his family. The earliest one originates probably from 1848 and displays Vojta Náprstek wearing a redingote of the revolutionary Student Legion. With two exceptions, the portraits present the family and friends of the collection owner. What makes the collection very interesting and frequently used by experts and the media is the fact that it includes, among other things, two portraits of Božena Němcová.

The first part of the article deals with the history of the collection and the persons portrayed. The second, technical part presents the history of the origin and development of the photographic techniques employed and the identification and specification of the degradation effects.

Open access

Helena Heroldová

Abstract

Dragon robes were worn by scholar – officials who were members of bureacracy of the Qing dynasty in China (1644–1911). The cut and design of the robes were uniform, but the embellishment and motifs including religious symbols were individual and personal. Dragon robes as a garment with high homogeneity and visibility is compared to the “organisational dress” worn by members of contemporary Western organisations. The meaning of both garments is found to be similar, especially as they convey social roles within the organisation and society.

Open access

Ingram Braun

Abstract

Die Geschichte des Dominospiels in Europa ist bisher wissenschaftlich nicht bearbeitet worden. Die ältesten Nachweise stammen aus China. Frühe archäologische Funde aus Nordwesteuropa reichen bis an die Grenze des Mittelalters zurück, sind aber außerordentlich selten. Ein Import über den Seeweg aus China kommt aus chronologischen Gründen nicht mehr in Betracht. Etwa ab 1760 gibt es schriftliche Belege aus Frankreich und Deutschland. Während sich aber in Frankreich darin ein Interesse der Oberschichten an wettkampfmäßigem Spiel manifestiert, handeln die deutschen Belege zunächst von einem Kinder-spiel. Erst mit den militärischen Erfolgen Frankreichs um die Jahrhundertwende steigt die Reputation des Spiels in den europäischen Oberschichten. In dieser Zeit sind neben Spielsätzen aus Hartgeweben auch Kartenspielsätze geläufig. Der Name leitet sich vermutlich von dem französischen Wort für Buntpapierherstellung ab, unter dem auch die Kartenmacher zu subsumieren sind.