Mancala is one of the world's oldest games and is widely played in Africa. This board, like most, has twelve holes and two large cups to hold each player's game pieces. The figurative carvings, however, are rare, and the board's boat shape reflects the importance of canoes to the Bidjogo. Mancala reflects ideas about how society is organized: the board may represent either the village or the universe; the holes are called "houses" or "villages"; and the playing pieces, which are moved around the board, are called "men," "wives," "children," or "cattle."
The object is a boat-shaped board with 12 playing cups and one triangular "capture" cup at either end. The playing area stands on a rectangular box which originally held playing seeds. The two ends are supported by a pair of male figures with ringed necks. The proper left leg of one of the figures is missing.