Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Games and Pastimes
(1,386 words)

Leaving aside activities such as dog-racing, cock-fighting and the like, the games of bo and yi were the most widespread amusements in ancient China. They are mentioned together in the Lunyu , and a passage in the Zuozhuan pointedly refers to the decisiveness required by a player of yi. Where Confucius mentioned the two games without disapprobation, Mencius saw them as social evils leading to unfilial behavior and spoke of yi as "an art of little consequence". Of the two games, yi is by far the easier to describe. It was the forerunner of the game of surrounding chequers (weiqi), perhaps bett…

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Greatrex, Roger, “Games and Pastimes”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 10 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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