ON THE GAMES, GAME ARTICLES AND CHESSBOARD PATTERNS ON BRONZE MIRRORS OF THE QIN AND HAN DYNASTIES
All the game articles of ancient China discovered so far in archaeological fieldwork were unearthed from Qin and Han tombs. Up to now two sets of game articles have been found in Qin tombs and about a dozen or more in Han ones. In addition, many models of such articles have been unearthed. A lot of figures of game articles and game scenes have also been found on unerthed pictorial stones and bricks and bronze mirrors.Information gathered from archaeological finds shows that Qin and Han game articles include chessboards, pieces, sticks (zhu or chou), dices (qiong) and a number of accessories such as mats, bags, boxes, paring knives, scrapers, etc.There were two principal games in the Qin and Han Dynasties. One of these was the throwing of zhu and the other was the throwing of qiong. The zhu-throwing game was sub divided into the games of throwing 2,6 and 8 zhu with that of throwing 6 zhu as the most popular one, which was called "big game". The qiong-throwing game was also divided into the games of t ng. The game of throwing 2 qiong was called "little game".he emergence of these games can be traced back at least to the Shang Dynasty.They become quite popular durnig the Eastern Zhou Dynasty and reached their height during the Han Dynasty, They were much enjoyed by the ruling clase of the Han Dynasty and were thus greatly encouraged. As a result, professional players came into being. From the above mentined archaeological finds and related historical records, we can form a vague idea of the ways the games were actually played, but it is impossible now to find out how they were played exactly. The methods of playing these games began to change during the Wei-Jin period, and by the time of the Tang Dynasty, the original methods of playing had completely lost.Among the bronze mirrors prevalent during the Qin and Han Dynasties, there is a kind of mirror the back of which is decorated with, geometrical patterns which seem to form a chessboard. This kind of mirror is generally called "TLV mirror". T decline of such mirrors coincided exactly with those of the games of the Qin and Han Dynasties. Tn the opinion of the author of this article, this kind of bronze mirror should be called "chessboard mirror".