1200-Year Old Tibetan Chessboard Found Engraved On Rock

tibetan chessboard

The Tubo Kingdom of Tibet flourished from circa 7th – 9th centuries. Interestingly enough, the ancient land-locked realm was influenced by both contemporary Chinese and Indians, especially in the fields of government, religion, literature, and culture. Pertaining to the latter, archaeologists have discovered a Tibetan chessboard engraved on an imposing rock surface dating back to the Tubo era. The discovery was made in what is now southwest China’s Sichuan province, with the site being located only around 19 miles away from the autonomous region of Garze in Tibet.

tibetan chessboard

According to the researchers from the cultural and tourism bureau of the Tibetan autonomous region, the chessboard was carved on the surface of a 2-tonne rock, thus essentially making it the centerpiece of the massive ‘setup’. However, since we are talking about chess, the board arrangement varies from our modern chessboard, with the 1,300-year old specimen having 100 squares instead of 64. Furthermore, the researchers also found two grooves on either side of the engraved board that was probably used for holding the pieces.

Now in terms of history, the Tubo Kingdom was multi-ethnic in nature, while also being one of the most powerful realms of Eastern Asia that established its dominance outside of traditional Tibet – mainly in the regions of what is now modern Gansu and Qinghai. As for the cultural side of affairs, this ancient version of chess was pretty popular among the Tibetan noble classes, with the game often played by the commanders of the realm. Relating to this scope, Chinese archaeologists had previously discovered a similar Tibetan chessboard in Maizhokunggar county within Tibet proper.

Source: Xinhua News

Image Credits: Sohu

About the Author

Dattatreya Mandal
Dattatreya Mandal has a bachelor's degree in Architecture (and associated History of Architecture) and a fervent interest in History. Formerly, one of the co-owners of an online architectural digest, he is currently the founder/editor of Realmofhistory.com. The latter is envisaged as an online compendium that mirrors his enthusiasm for ancient history, military, mythology, and historical evolution of architecture.
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