October 30, 2012

Indoor Games in Ancient Egypt

Indoor Games
The ancient Egyptians were also imaginative in their indoor recreation. A favourite game appears to have been similar to draughts, played on a rectangular board divided into thirty or thirty-three squares. Carved black and white pawns were used. Though the Egyptian players have been depicted facing each other, there is no indication of the rules of the game. The earliest gaming piece (in the shape of a house with sloping roof) was found in the tomb of the 1st-dynasty pharaoh Udimu (Den). Pre-dynastic (Before Egyptian Dynasty)  ‘pieces’ of clay coated with wax were, however, found with a checker-board table of unbaked clay held up by four thick short legs and divided into 19 squares on the surface.

A game which appears to have been popular in the Egyptian Old Kingdom was played with a series of discs about 4-5 inches in diameter, made in wood, horn, ivory, stone and copper, each with a hole in the centre through which a 6 inch pointed stick was inserted. These were usually found alongside wooden trays which unfortunately all perished, leaving us with no indication of how the game was played. Perhaps the stick was rotated between the palms of the hands to make the discs spin like a top.

Some of the Egyptian Old Kingdom games did survive its fall. One such was played on a low table, its surface displaying an engraved or inlaid coiled snake, the head situated at the centre of the board and the body divided into transverse lines forming segments. The ‘pieces’ for this game comprised three lions, three lionesses and five red-and-white balls; these were kept in an ebony box when the game was over. Many ist-and 2nd- dynasty tombs have yielded these.

Related Web Search :
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  • Daily life in Ancient Egypt
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