2014/03/10

Tutankhamun Senet Game

The Senet Game The Game Board of King Tutankhamun


 This is the Senet game of king Tutankhamun. 4 complete game boards and parts of another 2 boards were found in the Annexe of the tomb of king Tutankhamun. The Annexe also produced large number of playing pieces: the casting sticks as well as 7 knucklebones. 

Judging from the number of boards in the tomb, we suggest that it was one of the favourite games for the king. (because he had about 6 games)

 The Senet Game of King Tutankhamun

 Significance of this game:

The name of this game snt means to pass, which refers to passing in the netherworld or the after life. However, this idea of the passing to the netherworld developed since the New Kingdom when it acquired a magical-religious value and in the introductory formula in Chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead, it was considered essential that the deceased played a game against an invisible opponent to ensure his own survival.

It was a popular game from the earliest times in Egypt that’s why it was included in the funerary furniture.

We have some proofs which indicate that it was played everywhere and by all social levels from the Archaic Period onwards:

1-    Parts of a Senet game was discovered at the tomb of king Djet of the 1st Dynasty (displayed at the ground floor of the Egyptian Museum in the showcase of Games from the Archaic Period)
2-    The official Hesy-Re has a scene in his tomb at Saqqara showing him playing Senet.
3-    Prince Re-Hotep mentions the Senet game in his list of funerary objects.
4-    We found some ostraca belonging to the builders of the pyramids showing them while playing Senet.
5-    Ramses III was also shown in his temple at Madinet Habu while playing Senet with his daughters.

When Carter saw it, he said that it looked like a modern Egyptian game called (SEGA), while non-Egyptians like to compare it with Chess.


 The Senet Game of King Tutankhamun


How to play Senet:

Nobody knows exactly how it was played but there are some suggestions.

It consists of 3 rows of 10 squares; each player had an equal number of playing pieces probably about 5 or 7 pieces different from their opponent’s pieces. These pieces were generally pawn-like or reel-shaped. Most probably they were placed inside the drawer of this game, but maybe these pieces were not the original ones of the game and most probably the original ones were stolen because they were made out of precious metals like gold or silver.

Movement of the pieces was dictated by throwing the knucklebones or the casting (throwing) sticks; they act like our modern day dice .

The main idea of this game was to move the gaming pieces over the 30 squares in a backward “S” shape. The aim was to eliminate the pieces of the other player. Most of the squares are plain except for the final 5 squares which were inscribed with special characters maybe to explain some rules of this game, the mw sign (water) for example might have symbolized something dangerous or other signs could be of advantage to the player like the nfrw sign. Certainly it was a game of chance, the moves being determined by the throw either of knucklebones or of four casting sticks, both of which were found in the tomb.

The casting sticks were of two kinds, one pair having ends in the form of the tips of human fingers and the ends of the other being carved in the form of a long-eared canine animal, probably a fox. Both pairs consist of black ebony in the upper half and white ivory in the lower half. Perhaps the number of points scored from a cast depended on the number of sticks that finished with the white or black side uppermost when they were cast.

  The Senet Game of King Tutankhamun

 Description


This game is made out of wood veneered with ebony, and the 30 squares are inlaid with ivory, it is mounted upon an ebony stand with its legs taking the shape of animal's (probably feline) feet each resting on a gilded drum. Beneath the drums is an ebony sledge. At one end of the board there is a small drawer for the gaming pieces.

The inscribed band of hieroglyphs on the sides are wishing the king life and prosperity, and mentioning his titles and epithets.


 The Tjaw GameThe Tjaw Game

The Tjaw Game

On the other side of the board game, there is another game called Tjaw, a word which means ‘thieves’. It consists of 20 squares, a middle row of 12 squares flanked by 4 squares on each side at one end. The way of playing it is also unknown.





Tutankhamun shelter

 The royal shelter ( umbrella) of King Tutankhamun

The function: Its main function was to protect the king from the heat of the sun, the wind

and the rains . 

Types: Land shelter ►used during the different military expeditions. Hunting trips, during

the ceremonies as well as watching the military activities

 Sea shelter ► from the name we can deduce that it used mainly upon the boats and it

presented here with the prow (the frontal part of the boat).

  The royal shelter of King Tutankhamun
  Description: It made out of wood gilded. The upper part rectangular in shape, having

 several ropes coming out of it indicating the rays of the sun. These robes are to allow

decreasing and increasing the amount of the shape provided to the king. It resting

upon 4 throws, ending with papyrus and lotus flowers at the top.  At the bottom we

have stool upon which they used to put a cushion to allow the king to sit upon .

 it decorated with sign of unification (sm3-t3wy) →the lungs, the turcia, papyrus and lotus

 flowers tied together with the enemies Egypt and their hands tied behind their backs,

 they were Libyans, Nubians and Asiatic that indicating that the king was capable of

unifying upper and lower Egypt as well as suppressing all his enemies.  There are 6 sticks

 inside the same showcase may be they are remains of the robes but the largest stick is

 probably the way of opening and closing the umbrella. 

The royal shelter used to be covered by linen sheets, some scholars that the linen sheet

 which is on display at the same corridor is belonging to it, while other scholars said that

 they are some remains of the king's garment.


Tutankhamun Unguent Vase

Unguent Vase of Tutankhamun in the Form of a Lion


       It was found in the Annex, but the crown was removed by ancient robbers and was lying on the floor nearby at the time of discovery. It represents a lion; most probably it could be god BES.






Tutankhamun Unguent Vase


GOD BES was a household deity. He was the god of music, fun and merrymaking and he was thought to protect women during childbirth. He was also thought to protect against snakes through his role as a household guardian. 

He was represented on most of cosmetic containers and objects associated with beauty e.g. mirrors etc.. Recent opinions has suggested that he composed a triad with Taweret (represented as a pregnant hippopotamus) as consort and Meskhent (goddess of the birthing bricks) as their daughter, and they were all associated with childbirth.


        The lion or BES is standing upright on a pedestal. The head and the body were hollowed out to hold unguent or perfume, traces of which could still be seen at the top of the container.


        The container is made out of alabaster while the tongue and the teeth made out of Ivory. The tongue is painted red. The left front paw rests on the hieroglyphic sign SA, sign of protection, while the right one is held up either to greet the people or to ward off the evil in a gesture meaning to stop.  The right back paw is stepping forward in contrast to the left leg stepping forward attitude of kings.

Tutankhamun Unguent Vase


        Over the head there is a crown decorated with floral and geometrical motifs serving as the mouth of the jar. The earlobes are pierced to hold earrings. The names and titles of the king and queen are inscribed on the chest.

      At the back of the figure, there is a representation of a blue rosette or a tuft of hair on the shoulder of the lion and this sign was proved that this lion belongs to Tutankhamun .