Game piece - ROM2018_16165_29


Game piece

Medium:Glazed composition (faience)
Geography: Excavated at Abydos, Egypt
Date: c. 3100-2890 BC
Period: 1st Dynasty, Early Dynastic Period
4.1 × 3.7 cm
Object number: 905.2.108
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Ancient Egyptians loved to play board games. People of all social classes seem to have enjoyed playing. There are remains of game boards and game pieces from the earliest times until the Romans.

One favourite game was called senet, which means 'passing.' Senet was a game for two, like chess, played on a board with three rows of ten spaces or ‘houses’ in each. The game pieces were called ibau (dancers). There were usually seven pieces to each player, though the number could vary from five to ten. The rules of the game are not known in detail, but the aim seems to have been to get all one’s pieces ‘home’ or off the board. Sometimes the last five squares were decorated with images and even words.Although senet was a game played by the living, game boards and pieces were often buried with the dead.

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