Dynamic Divisions

The Tactics of Weiqi 圍棋 and Strategic Space in Imperial China

in Journal of Chinese Military History
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A major and as yet insurmountable obstacle in our comprehension of pre-modern Chinese military culture is the unfortunate dearth of detailed battle scenes or attack plans. The historiographical record simply does not include more than the barest outlines of how battles transpired. This essay offers a possible back-door method for accessing military movements and formations on an abstract level. It contends that the ancient game of weiqi, commonly known in the West by its Japanese name, Go, may afford insight into some of the military maneuvers likely employed in the Tang and Song dynasties, and perhaps even earlier. Using the earliest game maps available, found in the Song-era Wangyou qingle ji, with additional input from Ming and Qing texts, the essay spatially analyzes the tactical terms from a manuscript attributed to an author from the Five Dynasties and early Song periods, the Weiqi yili, and illustrates their potential employment using two historical passages, one from the Jiu Tangshu and another from the Hanshu.

Dynamic Divisions

The Tactics of Weiqi 圍棋 and Strategic Space in Imperial China

in Journal of Chinese Military History

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References

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  • 1

    Graff 2009145.

  • 2

    Graff 2009161.

  • 5

    See Liu 1985148-49.

  • 6

    Kissinger 201123.

  • 7

    Kissinger 201122.

  • 8

    Kissinger 2011342.

  • 10

    Boorman 19696.

  • 11

    Boorman 19698.

  • 12

    Boorman 196956.

  • 13

    Moskowitz 201345.

  • 14

    Moskowitz 201325.

  • 15

    Moskowitz 201345.

  • 16

    Liu 1985410-416.

  • 17

    Lo and Wang 2004196.

  • 20

    Liu 1985119. The piece first appears in Ouyang Xun 2010 74.1273. It also appears in a number of other collections including the Guwen yuan 古文苑 suggested to be a Tang-era compendium and various reprints of the Xuanxuan qijing 玄玄棋經. For the Guwen yuan see the Siku quanshu v. 189.

  • 21

    This poem also appears in Ouyang Xun 201074.1271-2 and in other collections including the Guwen yuan 古文苑 and the Xuanxuan qijing 玄玄棋經.

  • 23

    See Gunter 2004.

  • 24

    Yang 1981Xi 25.15 1109; The Ch’un Ts’ew with the Tso Chuan 1960 Xiang Gong 25th year 517. Translation modified.

  • 25

    Xu 19883A.37b 104.

  • 28

    Lo and Wang 2004187-88. See also Shi 1991 88.

  • 35

    Cheng 199030164.

  • 44

    See Cheng 199034-46.

  • 45

    See Cheng 199014-16.

  • 46

    For the complete discussion see Cheng 199022-23.

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    Dong 19962-5.

  • 53

    De Weerdt 2011249.

  • 54

    De Weerdt 2011249.

  • 55

    De Weerdt 2011247. As de Weerdt also mentions in a footnote the identification of the maps by a title “turns them into objects to be commented upon.” See also de Weerdt 2009 148.

  • 84

    See Dong 19964.

  • 85

    See Cheng 1990123-25.

  • 87

    Dong 19963.

  • 89

    Dong 19965.

  • 94

    Dong 19963.

  • 95

    Dong 19964.

  • 96

    See Cheng 1990125.

  • 97

    The example is taken from Graff 2009147.

  • 103

    See Di Cosmo 2002213-14. Italics mine.

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