The Egyptian Game of Khazza Lawizza
and its Burmese Counterpart

Paul Brewster

Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 85, 1961, 211-213

Tomb Painting

[Page 211] The first to show a serious interest in the above mentioned game appears to have been M. Ch. Beart, who, having seen pictures of it at the exposition "Jeux et sports dans le Monde antique", organized by the Musée du Louvre in 19541, wrote a short description and requested further information regarding the game and particularly regarding its occurrence elsewhere than in Egypt.2

High Jump Game

Khazza Lawizza is one of the most ancient games known to us and in all probability the oldest game still being played. It was popular in Egypt at least as early as the middle of the third millenium B.C.

The game was played by boys exclusively. One seated himself on the ground, legs extended in front of him and outspread, and the other players in turn jumped over, first the foot, then one foot resting upon the other, next the two feet plus one hand with fingers outstretched, and, finally, both feet and both outspread hands.

Sometimes, as in the accompanying representation (B) two or more players were seated side by side.3

Khazza Lawizza is still played by the fellahin of modern Egypt, whose manner of playing the game (shown in A) exactly parallels that used by their remote ancestors.

In Burma the same game, known there by the players as the High Jump Game, is played only by girls. Sometimes as many as twenty or twenty-five may take part, but the usual number of participants is six or eight.

Boys playing Khazza Lawizza

Two players sit on the ground facing each other as in one form of the modern Egyptian game (Al) close enough for the soles of their feet and the tips of their outstretched fingers to touch. Each of the other players must run and jump over two feet, placed side to side with heels against the ground, of the sitting girls. Next, each of the latter rests one foot on top of the other (heel on toes, soles pressing against those of the girl seated opposite, and the rest jump as before. The next jump is made more difficult by the seated players' putting the tips of their thumbs (of one hand each) to the uppermost toes and then extending the fingers upward as far as possible to mark the new height to be jumped. Finally, the other two hands are added, so that the jumper must clear a total of the length of two feet and the span of two hands.

A player who fails to clear anyone of the heights is barred from further jumping. Should more than one be successful in executing all four of the jumps, the seated players spread their legs as far apart as possible, keeping them flat on the ground and with opposite feet touching. Now each of the finalists must execute a series of hops into and out of the square formed by the legs. The first hop is over adjacent sides and out, then in and out at the corners formed by the thighs. Next, the player hops over opposite sides, first on one foot and then on both. Last, she does the same over each of the corners formed by the [Page 213] thighs and without setting her foot inside the square. A player touching a leg or jumping short is out of the game. The hopping continues until only one player remains, and she is proclaimed the winner.

At times the game is played without the competitive element. In this case each of the players may attempt any of the jumps regardless of whether she has succeeded or failed in the others. The hops over the legs of the seated players may be omitted, or, if performed, are done in a different way from that described earlier. The player stands at one of the corners formed by the feet of the seated girls, one of her own feet resting inside the square. She now jumps and turns while in the air, so that she alights with the other foot inside. The jumping and turning continue until the player has executed seven jumps at each of the two corners. The count is kept by the jumper's reciting of a little seven-part jingle.4


  1. Held at the Musee Pedagogique de Paris.
  2. ...Qui a joué , ou vu jouer au Khazza Lawlzza?" Notes Africaines, No. 67 (Juillet 1955), 76-77.
  3. There is a carved representation of this game, together with a depiction of wrestling, tug-of-war, and other sports, on the north wall of the tomb of Mereruka (VI dynasty, c. 2500 B. C.) at Sakherah. See OIP XXXIX, plate 163.
  4. For a fuller description with photographs, see R. B. Dennis, "Games and Children's Play", Journal of the Burma Research Society (Rangoon, n. d.), 78-80.

Last update August 11, 2010