France: , 1900. Item #05401
"Les Trois Chats"
A Remarkable Survival of a Passé-Boules Carnival Game
PASSÉ-BOULES GAME. [Les Trois Chats]. [in the style of Louis Wain]. Hand-painted 'Polychrome' Papier Maché late nineteenth century ball throwing 'Carnival' game. French, ca. 1900.
Three side by side polychrome cats in 'Papier Maché, the structure reinforced by two wooden boards, one as the base and the other at the top. The height is 24 1/2 inches (630 mm.); the width is 23 5/8 inches (600 mm.); and the depth is 5 7/8 inches (150 mm.).
Each of the three felines have gaping open mouths (2 1/2 inches (63 mm.), the one on the center wearing an orange and blue hat with the name "Toto" in orange. At the bottom is a receptacle with three compartments which are marked "30" "50" & "20" respectively.
A remarkable survival of a Passé-Boules Carnival Game.
Historically, passé-boule (ball-toss) was a very popular fairground game in France from the 19th century onwards and the masks often depict figures to be ridiculed. Any number of people may play.
The object of the game is to hit the target with small white balls - similar to table tennis balls, but slightly smaller.
The three targets are the wide-open mouths of the three cats. Players aim to throw or bounce their ball into the open mouths for a good score…
Provenance: Purchased in Paris from the family of the original owner whose Grandfather (or Grandmother) acquired it at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.