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Tang and Song Dynasties Collections

Bronze Chinese Chess Pieces

The Song Dynasty (960-1279)

Unearthed in Huayang of Chengdu

About 1.8 cm in diameter

This set of bronze Chinese chess pieces of the Song Dynasty was unearthed from the brick-walled tomb chamber of the Song Dynasty near Wan’an Town, Tianfu New Area, Chengdu in May 2016. There are 30 pieces in total. Through conservancy and clearance, compared to the modern Chinese chess kit, three pieces of the chess (two ministers and one cannon) are absent, but there is an additional piece (soldier). According to records in literature, the Chinese chess can date back to the Warring States Period, and was popular in the Song Dynasty. At the beginning, a set of Chinese chess kit had only 12 pieces, half black and half white. In the late Song Dynasty, the game pattern consisting of 32 pieces came into being. The chess kit might still be incomplete, but its number of pieces is assumedly consistent with the modern one.