|Description: The box (985.9.1a) is made of plain, unvarnished wood. The sides of the box have dovetailed joints. Grooves have been cut into the top and bottom edges to accommodate the lid and bottom, which slides into place. The lid (985.9.1b) is made of plain, unvarnished wood. Two 'D'-shaped finger holds have been carved into both ends of the box. A series of 'V'-shaped grooves have been cut along both ends of the lid. Each domino (985.9 c-ee) is made of a layer of bone and ebony joined through the middle of the brass pin. They are divided in half by an incised diagonal line cut into the bone layer. This line has been accentuated by black paint or dirt. The number designation has been made by drilling round, shallow depressions in the bone layer and painting the depressions black. Twenty-eight dominoes complete the set. |
The antique dealer acquired the domino set from a 'picker' who works in western Ontario.
Today, dominos are typically made of ceramic or plastic, however, they were traditionally composed of ivory or bone. Some of the oldest domino sets date back to the twelfth century. The modern domino game is said to have originated in China where it was based on the cubic dice, but Egyptian and Arabic origins have been suggested as well. Dominos became popular in Italy in the early 1700s and quickly spread to homes as well as pubs throughout the rest of Europe during the century. The name 'domino' originated from the fact that the appearance of individual tiles (black dots, white background) was like that of the 'domino' type of hood worn by Christian priests.