17 x 17 Board

    Keywords: Culture & History, Equipment

Today, 17x17 go boards can be seen in Tibet.

Ancient gobans in China were smaller than 19x19:

  • In 1954, a 17x17 board from Han Dynasty (25 A.D. - 220 A.D.) was unearthed in Wang Du, Hebei.
  • A 17x17 board is seen in the ancient painting Tang Lady Playing Go, unearthed in Xin Jiang.
  • YiJing and DuQuGe, two literatures from the NanBei dynasties, both mention 17x17 boards.
  • Chinese archaeologist have discovered a porcelain chessboard from the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 24 A.D.) in northwest China's Shaanxi Province. This is the earliest discovery of a chessboard ever unearthed in China. The Chessboard was found at the ruins of a watchtower at the tombs of Emperor Jingdi of the western Han Dynasty. 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, Li Gang, a researcher with the Shaanxi Provincial Archaeological Research Institute, said that this chess board 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. [ext] article
    • The article calls it "Go Chess" and the board is 17 x 17 so I presume they're talking about Go, not Chess or Xiangqi...
      • Migeru: I understand that in Chinese 'Qi' means both chess (XiangQi) and Go (WeiQi), so maybe that's where the ambiguity comes from. In fact, I believe the famous reference to Go in Confucius' Analects is actually to 'Qi' and some people debate which game it is referring to.
        • Niklaus: Actually, Confucius refers to the game as 'Yi' (弈), which hasn't been used since those times, so we can't really know for sure what it really was. But there seems to be pretty good evidence that it indeed does refer to Go.
          • unkx80: "Play", in the context of board games. Used in part of phrases like 对弈.
            • Hikaru: Hmmm.... I also saw a Japanese painting with a 17x17 board.

[Max:] There is an article in the weiqi tiandi 2005(Chinese review) which is a study about the 17 17 games still playing in Tibet

John F. I have the Yijing and Duquge texts but I have never seen them discussed outside of Chinese works. Have you a western reference?

[ext] Evolution of Weiqi Equipment

Note that the Tang lady from Torfan was not unearthed from a tomb, but came from a cave. As far as I know the Wangdu County board is not dated specifically to the Later Han. Is it not just labelled as prior to 200 AD? In other words, it could be Former Han (i.e. BC).

For others: the Yijing mentions a 17x17 board and 289 intersections; Yi here is not go; the title refers to a "manual of accomplishments". The Duquge mini-poem just refers to a square board of 17 lines. A 16x16 is also mentioned in the old literature but that is assumed to be a mistake.

Charles I take it that it isn't asserted that 19x19 wasn't also used.

17 x 17 Board last edited by on November 10, 2006 - 09:05
RecentChanges · StartingPoints · About
Edit page ·Search · Related · Page info · Latest diff
[Welcome to Sensei's Library!]
Search position
Page history
Latest page diff
Partner sites:
Go Teaching Ladder
Login / Prefs
Sensei's Library