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Go NationChinese Masculinities and the Game of Weiqi in China$
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Marc L. Moskowitz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276314

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276314.001.0001

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Multiple Metaphors and Mystical Imaginaries

Multiple Metaphors and Mystical Imaginaries

(p.24) Two Multiple Metaphors and Mystical Imaginaries
Go Nation

Marc L. Moskowitz

University of California Press

Weiqi is immersed in more vivid and often contradictory cultural metaphors than any other game in the world. As Chinese politics have changed over the last two millennia, so too has the imagery of the game—from a supposed tool for astrological divination to religious enlightenment, military metaphors, a wanton waste of time, unfilial behavior, one of the noble four arts, and one of the condemned “four olds”: nationalism, transnationalism, historical elitism, and futuristic hyperrationality. This chapter traces Weiqi’s remarkable immediacy and versatility in its symbolic representation throughout China’s history. Weiqi has been condemned, praised, or utilized as an instructive parable by great figures in Chinese history ranging from Confucius to Mao Zedong. This chapter also introduces the rules of the game and compares it with chess. The chapter then explores the history of the game, including its presence in Chinese mythology, the oldest historical records, and millennium-old poems that were dedicated to the game. Part of this exploration includes the game’s relationship with religions and philosophies, including Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, as well as its seemingly contradictory militaristic imagery.

Keywords:   chess, history, masculinity, religious metaphors, warfare, Nation, Race, Man

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