Rare antique wooden game board from Oman or Zanzibar. The wood is probably from a bread-tree (like many Omani doors) The back of the wooden board has seriously been eaten by termite. Size 80 by 33 cm.
For detailed description including game rules see Ref 1 Ingrams 1931 page 256-258. In Zanzibar the game is called Bao. It is a game played on a board having four rows of eight holes in it with the grey seeds of a shrub that grows on the seashore. Every player has 32 seeds. There are three forms: Kiswahili and two kinds of Kiarabu. Kiswahili is complicated. The game probably originated from Arabia (Oman) In Oman in its most basic form it is played by making holes in the sand and using camel droppings as game pieces (see Carter ref 2) The shape of the wooden board is also similar to the Arab school writing board, the top compartment is only used for storage of gaming seeds.
Front and back of Bao board from Oman /Zanzibar