The remains of checkerboard in the period ofKoguryo unearthed in Pyongyang for the first time

 2022.8.6.

The respected Comrade Kim Jong Un said:

"We should unearth larger numbers of valuable historical sites and relics, thus enriching the storehouse of the nation's cultural heritage."

The Faculty of History of Kim Il Sung University excavated a well in the period of Koguryo in Rimhung-dong, Taesong District, Pyongyang, in June Juche 106(2017), in which pieces of stone Korean checkerboard used at that time were discovered.

The pieces of a stone Korean checkerboard are made of white, relatively softly kaolinite-made stone slabs, which are lined crosswise to form a grid cell with a total of 17 points.

The largest patch contains one circle per three intersections of the grid line, two of which are now in succession. It can be seen that both sides of these circles had two rows of lines, and then there was space to allow them to extend further. This piece is 36cm long, 20cm wide and 3cm thick. The square cell is 3.8cm wide and 3.9cm long, and the diameter of the circle is 1.1cm. Among the remaining fragments are those that are glued to both sides of the first fragment and restored.

The remains of checkerboard in the period ofKoguryo
Picture 1. The remains of checkerboard in the period ofKoguryo

The position of a circle in each of the three intersections in these pieces is the same as that hwajom (the point you place the first paduk stone at the beginning of paduk)of a Korean checkerboard(possession of Korean folklore museum) which is considered to be one of the days of the Feudal JosonDynasty. Three pieces of stone checkerboard are found to have three stones in succession and two more, so when we reconstruct it, we can see that there are five hwajom in total, one side is 72cm long and another side is 68.4cm wide, 19-lined Korean checkerboard.

Restored checkerboard in the period ofKoguryo
Picture 2. Restored checkerboard in the period ofKoguryo

This is like a checkerboard in the period of the Feudal JosonDynasty,therefore it shows that the checkboard in Koguryo continued to develop through Koryoperiod until the period of the Feudal JosonDynasty.

Korean checkerboard
Picture3.Korean checkerboard in possession of Korean folklore museum

Picture 3. Korean checkerboard in possession of Korean folklore museum

*It can be seen that one of the patches corresponds to the edge, and the edge immediately corresponds to the first line, since the longitudinal line is elongated to the end.

The dates of the checkerboard can be found in the way of interpreting the dates of Koguryo pumice and pieces and wooden relics coming out together from the well.

The tiles are red pieces of tiles, with no cord pattern, most of the gratings, and some of them are lined with fir foliage. It is generally regarded as the end of the sixth century to the beginning of the seventh century in the change of the pattern of the Koguryo rock tiles.

The absolute dating of wood remains from the wells by the accelerator mass analysis(AMS) method yielded theresult of 583-656 years. This is in good agreement with the archaeological period.

Therefore, it can be said that the age of the Koguryo stone checkerboard does not deviate significantly from the end of the 6th century or the beginning of the 7th century.

Koguryocheckerboardfrom a wellis the 19-row checkerboard, the earliest in the world.

The development of checkerboard in China has turned into 15-row checkerboard in the period of the Han dynasty, 17-row checkerboard in the period of Yu(220-265) and 19-row checkerboard in the period of Su-Tang.

The oldest legacy of the 19-line checkerboard in China is the ceramics checkerboard model of Sudan Jangsheng Tomb unearthed in Anyang City, Henan Province in 1959,it is square about 10.2cm long on one side, 4cm high, dates back late in the sixth century.

Ceramics checkerboard model
Picture 4. Ceramics checkerboard model

This shows that the 19-row checkerboard in Koguryo and Su of China were in use in the same period.

On the other hand, Koguryocheckerboard is clearly different fromSu of China one in its concrete form.

From the Han dynasty to Song of China, the checkerboard hwajomis two in a row(one in four corners).

Checkerboard of Tang Dynasty
Picture 5. Checkerboard of Tang Dynasty

Checkerboard of Song Dynasty
Picture 6. Checkerboard of Song Dynasty

This shows that Koguryo checkerboard with five hwajom in a row and Chinese successive checkerboard are of different systems.

In the period of Koguryo, the checkerboard was able to make independent progress like this because Paduk was very raged at that time.

According to the document, Do Rim-a monkfromKoguryo was recognized as a genius of a nation by King Karoin Paekje.

It is also said that Koguryo people enjoyed playing paduk with other games.

It is said that the checkerboard which was transferred fromPaekjeto Japan is with 17-lines.

The newly-discovered checkerboard is a precious heritage of the Korean nation which shows the role played by Koguryo in the development of the history of the country, the excellence and independence of the Koguryo culture.