Open daily 10.00 to 17.45 Admission free Menu
Snakes and ladders, India, late 19th century. Watercolour on cloth. Museum no. CIRC.324-1972

Snakes and ladders, India, late 19th century. Watercolour on cloth. Museum no. CIRC.324-1972

Snakes and ladders was a popular game in India. This version teaches about Jain beliefs. The board represents a person’s progress in life, with each square representing something about behaviour or the Jain religion. The ladders represent good behaviour that allows people to move to a higher level. The snakes represent bad behaviour leading to descent to a lower level.

Play Snakes and Ladders online

This online game of snakes and ladders is based closely on a Jain board in the V&A's collection. The board is painted in opaque watercolour on cloth. It was made in Rajasthan, perhaps in a city called Bikaner, in the late 19th or the 20th century.

It is not known for certain what counters would have been used with the traditional board as none of the surviving old sets have counters with them.

For this interactive game counters from another game called pachisi have been used, which come from a 19th-century set in the V&A. The dice are cowrie shells, which were commonly used as dice in India.

Shop online

V&A Constable Playing Cards||EVAEX

V&A Constable Playing Cards||EVAEX

This pack of playing cards features paintings by John Constable from the  V&A's collection and is made from FSC responsible resources. Print…

Buy now

Discover South Kensington

Discover South Kensington brings together the Victoria and Albert Museum and the other leading cultural and educational organisations to promote innovation and learning. South Kensington is the home of science, arts and inspiration. Discovery is at the core of what happens here and there is so much to explore every day.

Find out more

Event - Pop-up Performance

Sat 11 January 2014–Sat 26 December 2015

FAMILY EVENT: Every Saturday, join in with performances that include storytelling, interactive plays and dance. Events rotate each week – please see below for details. Suitable for all the family including early years unless otherwise stated.

Book online