Relics Prove Chinese Playing Go Chess 2,000 Years Ago

Chinese archaeologists have discovered a porcelain chessboard from the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD) in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

This is the earliest discovery of a chessboard ever unearthed in China and proves that Chinese people started playing Chinese go chess more than 2,000 years ago, according to archaeologists.

The chessboard was found at the ruins of a watchtower at the tombs of Emperor Jingdi of the Western Han Dynasty and his empress. The chessboard, slightly damaged, and unequal measuring 28.5 cm to 5.7 cm long, 19.7 cm to 17 cm wide and 3.6 cm thick.

The chessboard is carved with 17 ordinate and 17 transversal lines, which is quite similar to the modern chessboard.

Li Gang, a research fellow with the Shaanxi Provincial Archaeological Research Institute, said that this chessboard might be made from a floor tile and it does not belong to the royal family since the carvings on the chessboard are too rough.

Li said the chessboard could have been made by the tomb guards who played chess to pass the time. "That proves that chess had been played not only by nobles, but also by ordinary people like tomb guards more than 2,000 years ago," Li noted.

China is the birthplace of go chess, however, the exact date for the appearance of the game is still unclear at present.

Li said that a stone chessboard made in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) was found in Wangdu County, north China's Hebei Province in 1954.

Article  du 7 Août 2000 sur le journal en ligne chinois People daily on line 

Dernière mise à jour le 29/11/12

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