中国棋艺 Chupu 樗蒲

Chupu the Play of Five Wooden DiceChupu is similar to the flying chess(飞行棋Fēixíng Qí) of today. A set of five dice in black or white are used, with sharp ends and flat middle part resembling squashed almond. The dice are painted black and white respectively on both sides, with a calf drawn on the black side and a pheasant on the white. They can be put in six different combinations for six corresponding prizes. If full blacks or four blacks with one white are got, another throw can be taken, or it can be deemed as a pass, while other combinations shall not count.

Records of people playing Chupu are frequently seen in ancient Chinese documents, from which we could imagine its popularity. Li’ao(李肇Lǐ Zhào) in the Tang Dynasty(唐朝Táng Cháo) once wrote an article The Play of Five Wooden Dice describing the ancient Chupu game.

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