The Goban and the Tomb
The oldest goban:
Was it carved for a dead king
Or the rough-scratched floor tile
Used by the guards of his tomb?
[Stone Go boards have been found as grave goods in the tombs of Ancient Chinese nobility. As for the tile board, there’s some speculation repeated at https://senseis.xmp.net/?17X17Board :
"Chinese archaeologist have discovered a porcelain chessboard [read goban, probably a translation error] from the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 24 A.D.) in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. This is the earliest discovery of a chessboard ever unearthed in China. The Chessboard was found at the ruins of a watchtower at the tombs of Emperor Jingdi of the western Han Dynasty. The chessboard, slightly damaged, and unequal measuring 28.5 cm to 5.7 cm long, 19.7 cm to 17 cm wide and 3.6 cm thick. the chessboard is carved with 17 ordinate and 17 transversal lines, Li Gang, a researcher with the Shaanxi Provincial Archaeological Research Institute, said that this chess board might be made from a floor tile and it does not belong to the royal family since the carvings on the chessboard are too rough. Li said the chessboard could have been made by the tomb guards who played chess to pass the time. “That proves that chess had been played not only by nobles, but also by ordinary people like tomb guards more than 2,000 years ago, " li noted.”]
Games with the Kami
Playing with kami,
Centuries passed quietly
Like wandering clouds.