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Board game - Snakes and ladders

Snakes and ladders

  • Object:

    Board game

  • Place of origin:

    England (published)

  • Date:

    1920s (published)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chromolithographed paper on card

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs E. M. Allen

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

When it was originally devised, Snakes and Ladders was a moral game. The virtues, in the shape of ladders, enabled the players to reach heaven quickly. The snakes were the vices for which the players were punished by having to move backwards. The game is generally thought to be a version of the Indian Moksha-Patamu religious instruction game. This is an English version that reflects the original ideals of the game. The design of the board also shows Indian influence.

Physical description

Design: chromolithograph mounted on card; folded in half; outside covered with red paper
No. of squares: 108
Squares illustrated: Some
Square numbering: all
Squares titled: none
Subject of starting square: n/a
Subject of ending square: indian snake charmer

Place of Origin

England (published)


1920s (published)



Materials and Techniques

Chromolithographed paper on card


Height: 35.7 cm, Width: 36 cm

Object history note

On the front is a small printed label giving the title and an illustration of a crisscross of snakes and ladders.

Historical context note

Rewards: forward movement along ladders
Forfeits: backward movement along snakes
No. of Players: any
Equipment required: markers, dice

Snakes and ladders rules apply

Rules placement: ?

Descriptive line

Snakes and Ladders board game made in England in the 1920s


Children & Childhood; Games


Museum of Childhood

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