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Ancient Tibetan chessboard discovered in Sichuan

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-04-24 20:51
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CHENGDU -- A Tibetan chessboard dating back to the Tibetan Tubo Kingdom more than 1,000 years ago, has been discovered in Southwest China's Sichuan province, local authorities said Wednesday.

The cultural and tourism bureau of the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Garze said the chessboard was carved on a huge rock, located around 30 km away from Garze county.

The bureau said the rock weighed around two tonnes, and the chessboard was at the center of the surface of the rock.

Different from the western chessboard, the Tibetan board, though has a square shape, its side was divided into ten parts, resulting in a total of 100 squares. The side of each square is around 2.5 centimeters.

Two round holes, which were suggested to be used to hold chess pieces, were carved diagonally in the chessboard.

Liu Hongjie, director of the bureau said that based on the preliminary investigation, experts suggested the chessboard was made during the Tibetan Tubo Kingdom (about 618 - 842), a multi-ethnic regime established by the Tubo people together with other ethnic groups and tribes inhabiting the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and surrounding areas.

It said the ancient chess game was once very popular among Tibetan upper classes, while two Tibetan noble troops were stationed in the area.

Experts also found that, depending on the model, lines and size, the chessboard discovered in Sichuan was similar to another Tibetan chessboard which was previously found in Maizhokunggar county in Tibet autonomous region.

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