Hebei: Clay Chess of Ming Dynasty discovered in Great Wall rehabilitation

2014-05-06 07:00:43 GMT2014-05-06 15:00:43(Beijing Time)  SINA English

Dozens of ancient chess pieces were discovered in the rehabilitation of the Great Wall in the coastal Qinhuangdao city of Hebei province on May 5.

The chess pieces were made of clay by soldiers of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) who garrisoned the Great Wall. The pieces vary by color: some look khaki while others are darker. The calligraphy of characters that carved on the pieces resembles a style called “Imitated Song(仿宋体)”, which was popular in Ming Dynasty.

The chess pieces were discovered in the area between Watch Tower No. 159 and 160. Archeologists also found a bronze pipe and a key, as well as more than 50 stone bombs.

According to Dong Yaohui, head of the Chinese Great Wall Culture Research Center and vice president of the Chinese Great Wall Society, the discovery of the chess pieces proved that the garrison solders of Ming Dynasty were not always in a stressful state of war.

“People tend to think that the Great Wall was built for military purposes. But the truth is, for about 70% of Great Wall garrison soldiers, their job was to plough and sow in Ming Dynasty; while the rest were recruited to guard the frontier. In this sense, the Great Wall existed as a symbol of peace: it reduced the scale and frequency of battles and thus, the daily life of Great Wall garrison soldiers were in peace,” Dong said.

Dozens of ancient chess pieces were discovered in the rehabilitation of the Great Wall in the coastal Qinhuangdao city of Hebei province on May 5. Dozens of ancient chess pieces were discovered in the rehabilitation of the Great Wall in the coastal Qinhuangdao city of Hebei province on May 5.
The chess pieces were made of clay by soldiers of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) who garrisoned the Great Wall. The pieces vary by color: some look khaki while others are darker. The chess pieces were made of clay by soldiers of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) who garrisoned the Great Wall. The pieces vary by color: some look khaki while others are darker.
Wokers are rehabilitating the Great Wall Wokers are rehabilitating the Great Wall
The Great Wall of Late Ming Dynasty was built on the foundation of that of Earlier Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall of Late Ming Dynasty was built on the foundation of that of Earlier Ming Dynasty.
The holes on the wall of Watch Tower No. 159 were for observing and shooting the enemy outside. The holes were bigger outside and smaller inside, built with ladder-shaped bricks. The holes on the wall of Watch Tower No. 159 were for observing and shooting the enemy outside. The holes were bigger outside and smaller inside, built with ladder-shaped bricks.
“Da’an Kou” pass after rehabilitation. Passes of the Great Wall were classified by how many horses could pass at one time: those can pass four horses were named “guan(关)”, those can pass two were called “kou (口)” and those can pass only one horse were “yu(峪)”. “Da’an Kou” pass after rehabilitation. Passes of the Great Wall were classified by how many horses could pass at one time: those can pass four horses were named “guan(关)”, those can pass two were called “kou (口)” and those can pass only one horse were “yu(峪)”.
The row of rocks in the middle of the picture was the base of the Great Wall built in early Ming Dynasty. It was widened from 2.5 to 5 meters 200 years later by Qi Jiguang, the famous general who fought Japanese intruders in the coastal east region in the middle of the 16th century. The row of rocks in the middle of the picture was the base of the Great Wall built in early Ming Dynasty. It was widened from 2.5 to 5 meters 200 years later by Qi Jiguang, the famous general who fought Japanese intruders in the coastal east region in the middle of the 16th century.

 

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