China Performing and entertaining sports • ice hockey (binqxi) • polo (jiju) • swordsmanship • throwing arrows into wine pitchers (touhu) Keep-fit activities • tai chi and daoyin (physical and breathing exercises combined with automassage) • martial arts: wushu, wuqinxi (Five Animal Play), ju-jitsu Various forms of physical training for military purposes • archery • charioteering • long-distance wrestling • football (cuju) • head-butting
Japan • sumo (wrestling) • kemari (kickball) • dakyu (polo) • kyudo (archery) • jiu-jitzu (judo) • karate
Mesopotamia Boxing Archery Wrestling Running Boxing Rellief, c.2000 B.C. from Tell Asram Gilgamesh the Wrestler
Egypt Board Games (Senet)
Hittites Bull leaping scene on a Hittite vase from Huseyindede Tepesi, 1565-1540 BCE For more on bull-leaping, see Philippe Guillaume (Professor of Old Testament at the Near East School of Theology, Beirut) and Noga Blockman (Archaeology department of the University of Tel Aviv)
Nubia carved reliefs of Nubian wrestlers and men engaged in "karate" and stick fighting demonstrations on Temple of Medinet Habu Journal of Sport History, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Summer, 1988)Wrestling in Ancient NubiaScott T. CarrollDept. of History, Gordon College
Egypt Pharaoh’s demonstrations of skill chariot driving archery hunting running
The king often boasted of his physical prowess. He recorded, “…he entered into his northern garden and found that there had been set up for him four targets of Asiatic copper of one palm in their thickness, with 20 cubits between one post and its fellow. Then his majesty appeared in a chariot like Montu [the god of war] in his power. He grasped his bow and gripped four arrows at the same time. So he rode northward, shooting at them like Montu in his regalia. His arrows had come out on the back thereof while he was attacking another post. It was really a deed which had never been done nor heard of by report: shooting at a target of copper an arrow which came out and dropped to the groundexcept for the king…” (ANET 244). [Clifford Wilson] Chariot Archery Relief of Amenhotep II in his chariot firing arrows at a copper ingot target, Temple of Amun, Thebes, Egypt.
Djoser Pyramid Djoser, Third Dynasty, c.2650 B.C. Sed Festival: Pharaoh Running Jubilee Run
Hatshepsut’s Jubilee Run Scene showing the Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1490-1468) performing the rites of her 30th anniversary jubilee, which included running around a special area to show her prowess.
Egypt Wrestling (Tomb of Baket at Beni Hasan (c.2000 B.C.)
Running Stela of King Taharqa This stela is a unique record from Egypt of a long-distance race held in circa 684 B.C.E. In typical Egyptian fashion the winner is not named. [Sixth year, third month] . . . under the majesty of . . . Taharqa . . . given eternal life. His Majesty commanded that [a stela] be erected [at] the back of the western desert to the west of the palace and that its title be "RunningPractice of the Army of the Son of the Sun Taharqa, may he live forever." His Majesty commanded that his army, raised up on his behalf, daily run [in] its five [sections]. Accordingly, His Majesty said to the men: "How lovely that is, which my Father Amon has made! No other king has done the like. He has arranged for the decapitation of the People of the Bow. The nine Peoples of the Bow are bound.....
Assyrian Lion Hunt Frieze Palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, c. 645 British Museum