New game of the greasy pole

New game of the greasy pole

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Title: New game of the mast of plenty.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 51.1 - Width 39.8

Technique and other indications: Photomechanical lithograph, paper. Game box cover.Léon Saussine (editor), ParisImp. Roche Frères, rue de l'Estrapade, 17 Paris

Storage place: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Picture reference: 04-509791 / 990.39.19D

New game of the mast of plenty.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Publication date: July 2007

Historical context

From the top of the fun fair

The mast of cocagne is, in the XIXe and at the beginning of the XXe centuries, the tallest object of the fair before being dominated by the Ferris wheel. For a long time the funfair will bring together the oldest attractions such as the greasy pole or the fairground theater and the most modern rides, running on electricity.

Image Analysis

The funfair as a board game

This illustration was designed for a cover of a board game. On the edge, four figures are shown climbing the mast. The drawing is signed by Ludovic and the text specifies: Great fun - Easy to play , at the bottom left : Another one who won't have it! The timpani! The timpani! and bottom right: Another one who won't have it! Another one below!
The image is organized around four attractions that make up the fun fair before which a motley crowd throng.
On the left, the giant woman's entresort is a fairground hut in which you can go in and out all the time to watch a fixed show; it could be phenomena, exotic animals, anatomical waxes, curiosities of all kinds. The sales pitch is provided by a dwarf in order to accentuate the size difference, he regularly comes to revive the public to encourage them to come in and see: The beautiful Elisa, 200 kg ! The giant woman! A painted canvas accredits its presence and stature. Opposite, making him thwart, The rampart of the south a wrestling hut, with drawn wrestlers. Finally, at the end of the alley, a merry-go-round, an attraction that appeared around 1900 with the steam carousel. The new energies will make it possible to free themselves from weight constraints and pave the way for thrills and a real leisure industry.
The pole of plenty is in the foreground, surrounded by onlookers: on the left, the mayor and his wife, then a police sergeant, a miller, simple spectators and on the right, elegant in 1900 fashion, a bourgeois couple. The pole is a long piece of wood often placed perpendicular and to increase the difficulty of the ascent, it is sometimes soaped. It can also be placed horizontally, and wrestlers must travel its entire length. At the top, the trophies are enthroned, which in this case were valuable food items: meat, bottles of Champagne, pocket watches, a bag, ham, a pipe, a gold cup. Eating meat, drinking Champagne, then represent opulence and unusual wealth.


The land of plenty for all

This game cover was made by the Saussine establishments, a cardboard game manufacturer based in Paris between 1860 and 1980. The popularity of this type of fairground attractions is such that board games have been inspired by it. It indeed associates celebration, luck with games and entertainment for all. This cover presents a real typology of the funfair with a merry-go-round, an entresort, a banking profession and a game of strength.
The allusion to the land of plenty corresponds, from the north of Europe to the southern regions, to a kind of paradise where nature is generous there, where one leads a life of pleasure and luxury. We can't help but think about the board The land of plenty by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, executed in 1567 and now in the Pinacoteca in Munich. Three figures, representing the clergy, the nobility and the peasantry, are sated and sleepy under a sort of tree crowned with a table set with food. They are equal before the aspiration for an earthly paradise and the promise of prosperity. Cocagne is a land of celebrations and perpetual bombings, inversion of values ​​and natural laws, where play and laziness are advocated, and where work is prohibited. Much like fat beef or Lazarus' dream, it coincides with the dream of everyone, from the city or the fields, to eat well in a society where the specter of scarcity is always threatening.

  • fun fair
  • Bruegel the Elder (Pieter Bruegel)


Marcel CAMPIONFairground, a life of combatParis, Lattés edition, 1999.Zeev GOURARIERRides of the pastParis, Flammarion 1991.Gilles-Antoine LANGLOISFestive days, from Tivoli to EurodisneyParis, Syros Alternatives Editions, 1992.

To cite this article

Valérie RANSON-ENGUIALE, "New game of the mast of plenty"

Video: Lissana gaha Climbing the greasy tree Cultural Game


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  3. Gogami

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  6. Zulkiktilar

    Sorry for interrupting you, there is a suggestion that we should take a different route.

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