Monday, March 16, 2009

The Game of Life

From the tomb of Sennedjem, a highly valued artisan during the 20th(?) or 21st (?) Dynasty in Egypt - some of the most spectacularly preserved and colord tomb paintings. This one reminds me of a game board - the Game of Life. I remember playing it as a youngster, at the time it was produced by Milton Bradley. I believe it is still produced today (I don't know by whom). As it is a tomb painting, perhaps some possible associations to the contents of the Book of the Dead have been overlooked because historians have been so caught up in the beauty of the imagery of Sennedjem and his wife going about their daily routine. If you take a closer look at the registers of this wall of art, it is separated into distinct areas, separated in a couple of areas (and surrounded) by a water feature, probably the Nile River. Notice also the series of black and white checked squares near the upper right corner of the painting. I believe this is a short-hand allusion to the battle between the forces of dark (black) and the forces of day (white) that takes place every 24 hours in classical Egyptian myth as the Sun God travels through the underground each night, facing untold horrors and challenges, only to emerge victorious the next morning (and, indeed, every morning), to once again bring light and life to the Earth.

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