Hounds & Jackals as Venus Counter

The Petrie Museum has a game called Hounds & Jackals or 58 holes, from Egypt’s Middle Kingdom and widely found elsewhere, in the ancient world. Two players had a set of sharp ended sticks with animal heads, which sat in each of the 29 + 29 = 58 holes. The top hole is larger (as with the Cretan 34-hole circular kernos, at Malia in Crete).

Cretan 34-hole Kernos

One can see the possibilities in such artifacts stored objective numerical information while being kept, within the cultural life of the people, through having a valuable everyday purpose (rather like the 52 playing cards do). This was exactly how Gurdjieff saw it that, he proposed a meeting of wise men in Babylon, it was seen that ancient knowledge would be forgotten were it not that art, games, buildings, dances, music and so on were designed to incorporate the knowledge until such time that human would be able, once again, to understand what they meant. In his book Beelzebub’s Tales he termed such artifacts as being logominisms, loosely translating to “meaning objects”.

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