Game of Hounds and Jackals
- Middle Kingdom
- Dynasty 12
- reign of Amenemhat IV
- ca. 1814–1805 B.C.
- From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, Birabi, pit tomb CC 25, debris, Carnarvon/Carter excavations, 1910
- Ebony, ivory
- Board: H. 6.8 cm (2 11/16 in.); W. 10.1 cm (4 in.); D. 15.6 cm (6 1/8 in.); Average height with pins: H. 14 cm (5 1/2 in.); Jackal pins: H. 7 cm (2 3/4 in.) to 8.5 cm (3 3/8 in.) Bottom (2012.508): L. 12.9 cm (5 1/16 in); W. 7.4 cm (2 15/16 in); Th. 0.3 cm (1/8 in)
Hound pins: H. 6 cm (2 3/8 in.) to 6.8 cm (2 11/16 in.)
- Credit Line:
- Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.1287a-k); Gift of Lord Carnarvon, 2012 (2012.508)
- Accession Number:
The board rests on four bulls' legs; one is completely restored and another only partially. There is a drawer with a bolt to store the playing pieces: five pins with hounds' heads and five with jackals' heads. The board is shaped like an axe-blade, and there are 58 holes in the upper surface with an incised palm tree topped by a shen sign in the center. Howard Carter and the Earl of Carnarvon reconstructed the game as follows in their publication of the find (Five Years of Explorations at Thebes, A Record of Work Done 1907-1911, London, Oxford, New York, 1912, p. 58): "Presuming the 'Shen' sign ... to be the goal, we find on either side twenty-nine holes, or including the goal, thirty aside. Among these holes, on either side, two are marked ..nefer, 'good;' and four others are linked together by curved lines.. Assuming that the holes marked 'good' incur a gain, it would appear that the others, connected by lines, incur a loss.. Now the moves themselves could easily have been denoted by the chance cast of knuckle-bones or dice....and if so we have before us a simple, but exciting, game of chance."
Egyptians likened the intricate voyage through the underworld to a game. This made gaming boards and gaming pieces appropriate objects to deposit in tombs.