Sunday, September 18, 2016
Short Story: Games from Ancient Egypt
Amira El-Noshokaty investigates the children’s games today’s Egyptians have inherited from their ancestors.
It is sometimes said that if you really want to know about a nation, look at the attention it pays to its children. As people flock to see the relics of ancient Egyptian civilisation at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in Cairo they could do worse than look carefully at the children’s toys and board games amid all the grand statues and other objects.
These items reveal a lot about the civilisation that made them, particularly in the excellence and attention to detail shown in them.
According to a recent book, Ancient Egyptians at Play: Board Games Across Borders by Walter Crist, Anne-Elizabeth Dunn-Vaturi and Alex de Voogt, the “culture of board games in Egypt has long been a topic of interest for archaeologists, anthropologists and lay people alike, the climatic conditions of the Nile Valley allowing the preservation of perishable materials.”
On the second floor of the Egyptian Museum in the corridor that leads to the display of the funerary items found in the tomb of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun, there are some very interesting ancient Egyptian royal toys.
There is the toy box of Tutankhamun himself, a white wooden box with a round handle so that the royal baby does not hurt himself when handling it. The box is very like those used today for children to keep their toys in while tidying up their rooms.
The display also contains a small wooden toy in the shape of a monkey, its arms and legs being mobile so the monkey can move up and down. Next to the monkey are two cone-shaped objects representing toy bread from ancient Egypt. There are also children’s rattles made of rope and palm leaves to keep infants safely entertained. Like a modern rattle in concept, these ancient ones are softer and more eco-friendly…. READ MORE.