Sub-page of Yunzi

mdh: I have a set of these and they are very nice. There is only one slight problem. They do not fit on a regular Goban very well. They are slightly larger then Japanese (Korean) stones and when the Go board gets crowded, They will overlap some. I have a couple boards, but I plan to make a homemade board just for these stones.

rubilia: If you by "regular board" refer to a Japanese board, the mismatching is no surprise, since Chinese boards are slightly bigger. I think, Korean boards (and stones) are again a little smaller than Japanese ones, but I am not sure about that.

axd: Equipment Dimensions mentions other reasons why the stones might overlap.

kds?: I bought some yuniz stones (bi-convex) from and love them! The fit my japanese boards just fine. After playing with them, I doubt I will ever use plain glass stones again! They feel good in the hand and look great on the board.

mdh Can anyone tell me anything about Yunzhi Stones. I have thinking of getting a set of Chinese style stones (Flat on the bottom) And I have been seeing these Yunzhi Stones in bamboo woven bowls on ebay for (USA)$49.99. They say they are actually a stone (Marble) material, not glass, plastic or ceramic. The only other reference I have found to chinese stones at the main online dealers is from Yutopian about Yunnan stones that are in the Japanese style which I would take to mean rounded on both sides.

TimothyCasey Yunzi is far too hard to be marble or glass.

Niklaus: Maybe you'll find more info if you look for Yunzi (short for Yunnan Qizi) instead of Yunzhi, which appears to be a typo.

mdh The spelling you see above (Yunzhi) is what is given in the Ebay auction. But the problem remains that I have not been able to find a source for good Chinese style go stones. They don't have to be Yunzi. Doing a google on Yunzi, Yunzi Go Stones didn't help. Chinese Go Stones does a little better but there is too much junk.

John F. You can't mix Chinese and Japanese and expect Google to sort it out! Go and stones are Japanese terms. Use yunzi weiqi or yunzi weiqi pieces.

Niklaus: Apparently the Chinese aren't yet into exporting weiqi equipment (I guess the domestic market is still a little bit bigger :), as google really doesn't turn up much. However I just found the website of the "Yunnan Weiqi Factory" at [ext] Most of it is in Chinese, but if you click at the link below the nice picture of the company president, there's a little bit translated into english.

Yunzi Owner: I have a set of chinese style yunzi. I find them very attractive - they are very uniform in size, beautiful in colour, heavy and have large specific heat capacity (i.e. feels cool to the touch, or warm if they have been left in the sun). Another nice thing about them is the sound they make when you rattle them in the bowls (or put a large capture of enemy stones in the lids) - it is very pleasing to the ear.

The material they are made from is supposedly secret, but it is certainly nothing like plastic - more like glass, ceramics or stone without being any of these - I dont really know what to compare them to, but you wont be disappointed. They are certainly a quality product. The straw bowls are, lets say, at rustic touch and part of the experience.

Apart from ebay you may like to try [ext] or [ext] (look under cultural supplies). I got mine from Yellow Emperor, but be advised that these are chinese sized (if there is such a thing), which is to say too large for a standard japanese goban. Luckily I had a slightly larger goban they fit on. Yunzi comes in several sizes - apparently go-gamestore sells the size that fits a japanese goban, but I have no experience with them.

mAsterdam: At the [ext] Yellow River Bookstore in Amsterdam (100 m. from Dam) I bought a very nice set. The white stones have a beautiful green glow. The sound makes you want to play more. There is nothing mistique about the sound of one hand. This is it. In one of the straw bowls there was a yellow nylon cloth with a 19x19 grid on it. A 35 Euro portable go ... err ... wei qi set.

John F. Here's a story about the photo at the bottom of the [ext] homepage. It shows Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh being presented with a set of Yunnan stones during a state visit to China in October 1986.

This story will make most sense to UK readers, but still... On a visit to China a couple of years ago, I saw a flyer for Yunnan stones in a department store. It had this picture on it. I had not known before that the Queen had been given such a present and so started talking to a salesgirl about it. We soon attracted a crowd. What puzzled me was that no-one knew who this famous person was. So I decided to give them a clue. I said that this was the most important lady in England. Recognition dawned all round: "Ah, Mrs Thatcher!" they said.

Having been on a quasi-state visit with Mrs Thatcher to Korea, I could understand their confusion, but of course I knew that the Chinese visit was on a much higher level. In particular, presents exchanged in such cases are normally kept in a government store, to be wheeled out for display when the visit is reciprocated. I was hoping to get a close-up photograph. However, on inquiry, it turned out that these stones had appealed to the Queen so much that she decided to keep them in her own apartments at Sandringham. I have visions of her offering them as Mint Imperials after dinner, but short of a personal invitation it doesn't look like I can ever see these stones or find out why they really appealed.

mdh To finish this thread out. I bought the stones. And to the person that said it was Yunzi and not Yunzhi, the printed sticker on one of the bamboo bowls says Yunzhi next to some chinese characters. I bought them from freeblue collectables through Ebay. If you hold the black stones up to a light they are slightly transparent with a nice color of green. There was a folded yellow vinyl board in one of the bowls.

I spent the first night cleaning the white powder off of them. The next night, I went through a game on my 1" slotted board (agathis). Here are my first impressions. The stones have some weight to them. They are at least as heavy as Ing stones. Holding them between the first and middle finger is not as easy. They are a little tighter on the board then regular stones, but not so that they are unusable. All in all, it will take a few games before I fully decide if I switch over to them from my old glass set.

John F. It is Yunzi, but Yunzhi here may mean something like manufactured in Yunnan - we'd need to see the characters to know, But the real point I want to make is to ask whether you aware that a Chinese board is bigger than a Japanese one (and is square)? Also, the habit of using two fingers like prongs is a Japanese one. I've shared your hesitation about using Chinese stones, and I haven't really liked any Chinese board I've ever seen. Maybe first loves are impossible to ditch.

Yunzi Owner: A little tip - after cleaning the black Yunzi giving them a little oil really brings out the color. Put the stones in a plastic bag and add a very small amount of oil and twirl the stones around in the bag for a minute or two. Wipe the stones clean of excess oil. Litterally one or two drops of oil is enough - err on the side of caution, you dont want to turn your new stones into an oily mess. Get an oil suitable for applying to stone surfaces or light sewing machine oil. Don't use cooking oil. The difference this makes to the appearance is dazzling - keep a stone unolied and see for yourself. Only do this to the black yunzi - it does not seem to do much for the white. axd: worse: oil is not good for the shell stones.

mdh I did not know that the Chinese board was a larger (and square) The vinyl board that came with the set does match your description of larger and square but I thought it was because it was a cheap add on. I will have to give the oil idea a try, thanks.

Seffer Yunzi stones are made of jadeite, a type of jade, or so I've been told.

TimothyCasey. Jade (Latin root: iliata) is denser than yunzi and, although yunzi is more brittle than jade, jade is not as hard as yunzi. According to the university textbook author, M. H. Battey (1981, "Mineralogy for Students", p. 262), jadeite is one of the two component minerals of jade - the other component mineral being nephrite. So, we can safely say that jade is not a mineral but is, rather, a rock composed predominantly of the minerals jadeite and nephrite - in much the way that granite is a rock composed predominantly of the minerals quartz feldspar and mica.

quarktime The GemRocks? site ([ext] calls reference to a mineral called "chloromelanite", which is dark green to black in color, and is found predominantly in the Yunnan province of Southwest China. This would suggest to me that the black Yunzi is in fact chloromelanite, a subvariety of jadeite.

Nemir I went on a pilgramage to the factory in Yunnan, and was rewarded with a wonder day playing go with the cheif engineer of the factory who was a lovely man. They have many, many different grades of stone for sale made with many different materials, but all are of a local stone. They are passionate about their craft, and proud of their history and their reputation as making the best stones in all of china. The stones they sell in bamboo were (I thought) much less nice to play with than their higher end stones. You can see many of their different stones and their prices on the website. Certainly the stones in the bamboo bowls were much cheaper! They also sell boards which are definitely not square. I shall update with full dimensions at a later time.

phlatphrog I purchased a "discount" (listed on ebay) board and set of yunzi stones from the go-gamestore. I spent almost as much on shipping as on the set since they're in Canada and I'm in Hawaii. Anyway, I love the set. I've posted some pix of it, and some shots comparing the yunzi against my old korean glass stones. The pics are at [ext]

Sivak? Hello. I have also purchased some bi-convex Yunzi stones and they are neat. They have the green glow in the light. The black ones were kind of dusty and I rinsed them off with water. The white ones looked clean, so I didn't do anything. Is this normal for the black ones to be dirty? Should I do anything to the white ones?

Velobici: Has anyone seen a broken Yunzi? Just last night, I saw a set of stones labelled genuine Yunzi stones. The surface of the stones was matte, very easy on the eyes, quite appealing on a goboard. Being that my go club meets at night, we could not examine the black stones in sufficently bright light to determine if they had the greenish cast that is common with Yunzi. Two or three of the white stones arrived broken in half. The stones contained voids (air bubbles). The surface exposed by the broken stones was shiny and smooth like glass.

Niklaus: Yes, I own a set of Yunzi (pretty sure it's the real thing, I bought it at the factory in Kunming), and one day after carrying them around all day (I got a cool carrying bag with them) one black stone was broken. I don't remember seeing any bubbles, I just noticed that they appeared more green than black on the "inner" surfaces, which you can also see when you hold them against the light.

Velobici: Was the "inner" surface, the surface exposed by the break, smooth and shiny like glass, or matte/dull like the exterior of the stone?

Niklaus: It was more like glass, as far as I remember. Don't know how they do it so the surface is different from the inside, but I like how it does not reflect any light, pretty and easy on the eyes.

LukeNine45: I recently bought a set of Yunzi stones, and one of the white stones arrived broken. Yes, the inside looks much like glass. No air bubbles in that stone, but in one of the black stones I can see what appears to be a tiny air bubble just beneath the surface.

Ithmatic: How big does a board have to be to comfortably hold yunzi stones? Also, what do people think about marble vs. yunzi? I'm having trouble deciding between the two.

ChiyoDad: Yunzi stones come in Chinese (22-23mm) and Japanese (21.5mm) sizes. Make sure you select the right size. The biconvex ones are usually Japanese-sized. You can send an email to [ext] The Go Gamestore and buy a stone sample pack for about $7. At first, I thought the marble stones were better because the Yunzi's felt raspy. As it turned out, the raspiness was due to a powder on the Yunzis. After [ext] washing and oiling these, they feel very nice.

Yaboji: I contacted the Yunzi factory in China and they would not sell to me directly but they directed me to the following site for buying their stones in the states. [ext]

ChiyoDad: $258 seems a bit excessive for a Yunzi/Jujube/Bamboo table set that can be purchased from [ext] Yellow Mountain Imports at an average final auction price of about $85. I don't see any as of 05/12/19 but they'll probably add a few soon. You could even buy a Yunzi/Jujube/Spruce table set from [ext] The Go Gamestore.

Pashley When I visited Yunnan, I didn't make it to the factory but did find a store in downtown Kunming with various types. Cheapest were normal Yunzi in bamboo bowls at the usual Chinese price, around 90 rmb which is about $12 US. Sets that included wooden bowls started around 160, roughly $20. I bought the most expensive ones in the shop, with light-colored wooden bowls and a wooden carrying case, for 350 RMB, under $50. Held to light, both black and white stones are translucent and both give a greenish tint. If I can find the card, I'll post directions to the store on[ext] Wikitravel.

C.S. Graves: I've been wanting a set of Yunzi stones with the straw baskets for a long time now, and just earlier tonight (2005/12/22) I received a set from I washed all the stones and oiled the black ones. The set included 12 extra black (one broken) and 10 extra white. I removed these extras as it's quite difficult to get the lid on one of the baskets with all the black stones inside. The spruce board has xiangqi on the reverse side, and I had purchased pieces from them previously, so now I can have my two favourite boardgames on one board. Though I like to play te-tsuki with biconvex stones, I wanted an authentic Chinese weiqi set for the sake of variety, and to give a nod to the culture that invented the game in the first place. I've also found that the flat stones can be turned upside down to indicate where the last move is played in the event of the game being interrupted, which is handy. Nice stones, nice baskets, nice board... great set altogether. I think I'll be playing this at work this Boxing Day to while away the idle hours!

LaTomate: I purchased a set of Yunzi stones with wooden bowls and travelling bag with the Yunzi logo on it from ebay (at least I hope they are originals). Same source as [ext] here. I recieved 182 black stones and 183 white ones, non broken. The black stones were slightly dusty (white specks) and so I washed and oiled all the stones. The stones are quite beautiful on a goban and play well. The black stones are translucent green when held in front of a light, but the glow is not uniform in my set (there are imperfections or bubbles in the center of the stones). I'm quite happy with these stones nontheless, and I truly apreciate them. One of the white stones recently chipped, so I've taken to stuffing plastic bubble sheeting in the bowls so as to prevent the stones from moving around and breaking.

ChiyoDad: A more elegant solution would be to use red or black felt sheets from a craft store. I cut these into pairs of large and small circles. The large ones line the inside of the bowls. I lay smaller ones on the stones before putting on the lids. The smaller ones double as coasters for the lids when you set the latter on the table, upside down; so the tops of your lids won't get scuffed.

C.S. Graves: The chipping of the Yunzi isn't an issue with the straw baskets so much, but I understand many people prefer wooden bowls. I find the baskets are more prone to tipping during transport due to their higher centre of gravity, but I still like them.

LaTomate: your solution is more elegant! You're the blogger I linked to. Nice blog! I truly like the stones and bowls we recieved. The bag's pretty handy too. I'll give your felt solution a try, and thanks!

ChiyoDad: I feel that the bag itself could use a little more padding. I may experiment with craft foam sheets (w/ or w/o adhesive) to line the sides and bottom. These are about 1-2mm thick so it should make the bag even more snug. I'll blog about the results when I'm done.

The Count: I received some biconvex yunzis from Yellow Mountain Imports recently and am very pleased with them. I would say, however, that the stones are quite irregular in size. I'm susprised no one else has said this already, but perhaps I just expected too much. Quite a few of the white stones are too small, and this makes them "sharper" at the edges and makes them have one side more convex than the other. Also, a couple of the black stones have dents in the middle so that they don't lie flat on the board. I do recommend these stones, though. I got sent 180 black and 182 white stones after taking out a few broken ones.

damien: I have a set of yunzi stones coming in the mail today, and I'm so excited I can barely contain myself. I keep seeing mentions about oiling the yunzi stones, and here is my question: Is it necessary to oil yunzi stones? Perhaps I prefer a matte finish to a oiled gloss. Is it bad for the goban, the bowls, or the stones for me to not oil the stones, but only wash them? I hear the surface of the stones is slightly "rougher" than slate or glass. Would placing (or worse, sliding) an un-oiled stone damage a goban's finish?

TimothyCasey: Cleaning and oiling do not replace the matte finish with any manner of gloss. If anything, cleaning and oiling bring out the best of the matte finish and get rid of residual abrasives and chemicals left on the stones from manufacture. I strongly recommend you scrub both sets of stones in clean water, towel dry individually, and oil with a light, clean stain-free oil that is not prone to oxidation and does not biodegrade. A good sewing machine oil does this very well (I use Singer). Use a clean dry towel or cloth to wipe any excess oil from the surface of the stones before use. The smoothness of fracture combined with the matte surface texture suggests smelting and either etching or rough milling. I've used cutting agents when making thin sections, and the powder that ships on the stones feels suspiciously similar - which cannot be good for the finish on your goban or for one's sensibilities when stones rub together dry. Moreover, cleaning up the white stones does bring up a remarkable and subtle lustre that I do not think is entirely evident before cleaning and oiling. Yunzi has a hardness of 7.0 on the Moh's scale, which is harder than glass, steel and jade - and comparable with quartz and sand. Ergo, sliding yunzi stones across the board is definitely not recommended - especially if they have not been cleaned and oiled.

Thiago?: I own a shin kaya goban and double convex yunzi for about a month, I always slide the stones without putting pressure and so far no scratches appeared. Though I do not recommend doing it... kaya is so soft I'm sure you'll scratch it even with glass if you press hard enough. Hardness is a technical scale. It measures scratch resistance and has nothing to do with impact resistance. For example steel is softer than glass (steel is scratched by glass), but steel can easily shatter diamond the hardest known material. It would be great to compare impact resistance between go stones to know with one is less prone to break.

DuEm6: I can't help but feel that yunzi is more trouble than it's worth. Unfortunate, because I like the idea of flipping yunzis when discussing variations. And the looks. Some conclusions from this discussion:

  • Yunzis are too large for Japanese and Korean boards. There are smaller yunzis, but they are not available outside China (Asia?).
  • Larger Chinese-sized boards are unavailable outside China. Or at least won't be labeled as such.
  • The good stuffs are not available outside China (Asia?). Like the higher-grade yunzis.

Yunzi/discussion last edited by DuEm6 on July 4, 2021 - 20:01
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