Celebrating mass-produced, frugal, aesthetic design from india


The first thing that strikes one’s mind after hearing the word marbles (kanche in India) is the flamboyant agate refracting light.
Marbles have been made of round stones, clay balls, marble, porcelain, glass and steel. Toy makers have found increasingly ingenious methods for making marbles that are beautiful, durable, inexpensive, and fun.

Marbles still appeal to people of all ages. Kids and adults love to play, collect and trade them. So long as marbles have this natural appeal, there will be marble makers. Marbles are still produced in vast quantities by several marble manufacturers. There are also a large number of artist, hobbyists, and glass shops who produce fine art marbles. Glass marbles can be fashioned through the production of glass rods which are stacked together to form the desired pattern, cutting the rod into marble-sized pieces using marble scissors, and rounding the still-malleable glass.

The game of marbles is included in Indian traditional games of our section because played all over the country; kanche is one of the most popular traditional Indian games.

In India it’s played in two variations. The rules of both are mentioned below:

This game is often called “the ringer”  First draw a circle about 2 feet wide, in the dirt or on a sidewalk. You keep one marble as the shooter; the others go in the circle. Sometimes the shooter is bigger. You shoot your marble from outside the circle into any of the marbles inside the ring. The marbles you’ve knocked out of the circle are yours. You take turns with the other player(s). Whoever has the most marbles wins!

The second variation of the game of marbles is called “rolley hole”. All you need is a set of kanchey (marbles or small colored glass balls about 1 cm in diameter) and an open space. A shallow hole is dug in the ground and the objective of the game is to throw the marbles into the hole.

Each player contributes two marbles. The first player holds the marbles in one hand and throws them together aiming at the hole. Some marbles may fall into the hole. The other children then choose a marble from those outside the hole and the first player is asked to hit the selected marble with another marble that belongs to him. If he succeeds, he wins all the marbles. If not, he gets those in the hole and the one with which he hit. The next player takes his turn with the remaining marbles. The player who ends with the largest number of marbles is the winner. “Winner keeps, loser weeps”

How to aim?
Stretch back the forefinger of your left hand using the forefinger of the right hand and the thumb to grip the marble. Now pull the marble towards you and then push your left forefinger to release the marble with force in the desired direction. Remember, while pushing the marble, your left thumb should firmly touch the ground.

Who plays first?
To decide which child gets the first turn, two lines are drawn on the ground – one about half a foot and the other three feet away from the hole. The players stand at the second line and try to throw their marbles into the hole. The person whose marble is closest to the hole gets to play first.

While the game of marbles was once ubiquitous and attracted widespread press to national tournaments, its popularity has dwindled in the television age.

Nevertheless, the easy rules and no-equipment cost , put this game on our list.

3 Responses to “Kanche”

  1. Akansha Jain

    I always wanted to learn playing this but was never successful. But this post really brought back many childhood memories….gr8 initiative keep up the good work..

    • butool

      yeah its intresting object nt only d game bt kanche r used in many other games…have u played wid thm…??


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