The merels game is a kind of board game that has been played in the Mediterranean region since the Antiquity and spread all over Eurasia during the Middle Age. There are three types of merels boards in China, among which the type with three-layer concentric squares and diagonals is the most common. After reviewing all the available archaeological data, this article shows that this game spread to China along the grassland Silk Roads. It was introduced into the Bohai State at the latest during the Tang Dynasty (AD ninth century) and became popular in the northern grassland and northeast China regions during the Liao and Jin Dynasties (AD tenth-thirteenth centuries). It spreads to the Central Plains as early as the Northern Song Dynasty and kept on circulating during the following centuries. During the Ming Dynasty, it was called “Macheng” and became a popular chess game often played in the streets.
Asian Archaeology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 16, 2020