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Set of Gaming Pieces

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Funerary Gallery 2, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
The game of senet reflects the belief that the deceased encountered demons on the road to the underworld who blocked gateways. The Egyptian word senet means “passing,” a reference to avoiding the demons when passing through the gateways. The game board represents the zones through which the deceased had to travel to reach the place of judgment. A New Kingdom text suggests the game was played between the deceased and an unnamed opponent, the stakes being the deceased’s continued existence. But there is also evidence that senet was popular among the living.
MEDIUM Faience
  • Possible Place Made: Thebes, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1539–1295 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18 (possibly)
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS Greatest height: 1 in. (2.5 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.94E.1-.23
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented, probably from Thebes, Egypt; by 1852, collected in Egypt by Henry Abbott of Cairo, Egypt and New York, NY; 1859, purchased from Henry Abbott by the New-York Historical Society, New York, NY; 1937, loaned by the New-York Historical Society to the Brooklyn Museum; 1948, purchased from the New-York Historical Society by the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Twenty-three blue-glazed faience gaming pieces associated with a wooden game board (37.93E). Eleven of the pieces have more or less a square shape (.1-.2, .7, .12-.13, .16, .19-.23). The other pieces (.3-.6, .8-.11, .14-.15, .17-.18) have more or less a triangular shape. Condition: Some firing flaws; otherwise good.
    CAPTION Set of Gaming Pieces, ca. 1539–1295 B.C.E. Faience, Greatest height: 1 in. (2.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.94E.1-.23. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , CUR.37.93E_37.94E_mummychamber.jpg)
    IMAGE group, CUR.37.93E_37.94E_mummychamber.jpg.
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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