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Indian Bexique box

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Such was the popularity of card games in the nineteenth century, that boxes were made in all conceivable styles to hold the cards and paraphenalia. This box was made for the game of Bezique - a game which still exists today and deserves to be more widely played in my view - in Vizagapatam, India. The case is made of horn with ivory embellishments in the style which had become traditional there, with intricate black scrolling decoration on the ivory and a series of ivory studs. Inside there are two extremely high quality, thick  ivory scoring markers specific to the game of Bezique, recording scores up to 1,000 with the small rotating ebony hands. The two markers have a rather clever dual purpose of retaining and also pressing flat the two decks of cards which were made by De La Rue and are full decks rather than the standard Bezique decks of 32 cards each. The amount of individual care and attention to detail in these boxes is just so impressive in these days of mass production - but in their time these were also exported in large numbers at a time when local production costs were incredibly low.

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