Senet Game - the Game of the Pharaohs
Ancient Egyptian Game
The Favourite Game of the Pharaohs
16" x 5" (40.64 x 12.7 cm) Wood Game
Includes A Pullout Storage Drawer For The Playing Pieces
Senet is one of the oldest known board games in the world. It has been found in Predynastic and First Dynasty burials of Egypt, circa 3500 BC and 3100 BC respectively. The oldest hieroglyph representing a Senet game dates to around 3100 BC making the game at least 5000 years old. It was one of the most popular games of Egypt.
The Egyptian word of Senet means passing. For Egyptians, the game of Senet had powerful sacred connections and was played as a way to assure the passing of players into the Netherworld. Placed inside of tombs the games would assist in the afterlife and offer enjoyment. It became a kind of talisman for the journey of the dead. Because of the element of luck in the game and the Egyptian belief in determinism, it was believed that a successful player was under the protection of the major gods of the national pantheon: Ra, Thoth, and sometimes Osiris. Consequently, Senet boards were often placed in the grave alongside other useful objects for the dangerous journey through the afterlife and the game is referred to in Chapter XVII of the Book of the Dead. Many tombs such as that of Merknera (c. 3300-2700BC) or of Hesy (c.2686-2613 BC), feature paintings depicting the game of Senet being played. Hieroglyphs have been discovered depicting Nefertiti playing the game. It has been discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamen, beautifully made of ebony, ivory, and gold.A total of four Senet games were discovered in this tomb. One was made almost entirely out of ivory.
The Senet gameboard is a grid of thirty squares, arranged in three rows of ten. A senet game has two sets of pawns (at least five of each and, in some sets, more). The actual rules of the game are a topic of some debate, although historians have made educated guesses. Senet historians Timothy Kendall and R.C. Bell have each proposed their own sets of rules to play the game. These rules have been adopted by different companies which make Senet sets for sale today. (Source: Wikipedia and All about Fun Games)
The basic premise of Senet is much like Backgammon, which is also a game of chance and strategy where two players race to get all their pieces from one end of the board to the other.
Game of Senet on Table
Like Modern day Checkergames, Senet was played by two people using game pieces (spools and cones) and a set of dice (usually animal knucklebones).
In a funerary context ( Chapter seventeen of The Book of the Dead), the winner of the game would emerge with a living ba-soul.
This game is provided with a useful pull-out drawer for storing the game pieces. The wooden table is made to imitate canes bound together.