Are the rules known of this game? Is it any fun?
We have an idea of how it was played. The marked spaces at the end are special in some way, but we aren't sure exactly what they mean. We do know that the game overall, known as Senet which means "Passing," was a representation of the soul's journey to the afterlife.
Is this a mosaic?
This game set is actually molded from a material called faience; the blue color is a glaze and the black may be a paint, that is applied to the material's white surface. Faience is a quartz-based paste that can be modeled and molded and then fired, like ceramic, at a high temperature to harden.
Can you explain what the drawings mean and represent?
What you see on this end of the board is actually a hieroglyphic inscription. The falcon to the right is shown standing on top of a representation of the palace. This symbol is known as a serekh and tells us that the writing is the king's name.
The inscription reads "Kha-em-maat," which is believed to be an abbreviated version of Amunhotep III's Horus name, "Ka-nakht-kha-em-maat."
Is that the eye of Horus?
There isn't an eye of Horus here. If you mean the sign that is in the top center, that is the hieroglyph "kha."
The kha sign is based on a hill with the sun's rays rising behind it.
What are these symbols?
These symbols on the sides are "tyt" or the Isis knot which is a protective symbol, and "djed" which means endurance and strength.
The djed pillar is said to be based on the spine of Osiris, the legendary first king of Egypt.
Thank you so much. Why is it repetitive?
You're welcome! It is common in Egyptian art to create repeating bands of these two signs, or possibly incorporating "ankh" and "was." When you see these bands it means that it is about the concepts that the signs represent (protection and strength) rather than the sounds that they would stand for in an inscription.
Do these mean anything?
These are the pieces that players would use to play the game of senet. The different shapes are for the two different players. These are relatively plain versions of senet pieces; we know of other examples that are in the shapes of people and animals. But these don't really have a symbolic significance.
What do the four symbols on top mean?
The symbols in the last couple of spaces indicate that these spaces are somehow special in game play. Scholars don't know exactly what they mean because no written rules for senet have been found. I'll share with you what we think the symbols mean though...
The first sign (starting from the left) is the hieroglyph "nefer," which means good. Scholars have determined that this space has something to do with goodness, truth, or cosmic balance (known as ma'at in ancient Egypt).
Based on other game boards with more elaborate decoration, scholars have determined that the x has something to do with water, possibly a hippo hunt.
The three lines are, of course, three or many of something, likely souls or parts of souls. (The soul is made up of three parts, the ba, the ka, and the akh, according to ancient Egyptian beliefs.)
The two lines certainly represent two people or deities. They may be friends or the sisters Isis and Nephthys, the archetypal mourners.
The final square is blank here, but is decorated on more elaborate examples. In this highly stylized version, the fact that it is the last square may be enough to know its function. The decoration that is known for the last square seems to refer to birds–maybe even Horus–and beginning or flying.
Thank you so much!