Earliest Surviving Go Manual

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Oct 192008

Attention was drawn to a fascinating artifact by a recent article in the AGEJ.

BRITS STUDY ANCIENT GO DOCUMENT: A 1200-year-old manuscript containing go proverbs and other instructions is being studied and conserved at the British Museum, with the help of The Zen Machine, a British group headed by Peter Wendes. The manuscript, thought to be the oldest surviving go manual, was discovered in 1900 among 40,000 similar scrolls in a cave near Dunhuang, a city of about 150,000 people in northwestern China. Located near the junction of the northern and southern Silk Roads, Dunhuang was an important military stronghold and center of exchange between East and West more than 2000 years ago. Buddhist monks constructed nearly 500 temples, the nearby Mogao Caves, and began collecting manuscripts from travelers. In 1900, a self-appointed guardian of these temples discovered a huge collection of artifacts in a walled-off section of one of these caves, and sold them to Hungarian archaeologist Aurel Stein for just 220 pounds and many of those manuscripts — including this one — wound up at the British Museum. According to Wendes, the manuscript, which measures about 6″ wide and 96″ long, has never been translated. If you can help, contact him at the Zen Machine.
by Roy Laird in American Go E-Journal Volume 9, #53: October 13, 2008