Posted by: softypapa | September 7, 2008

Vintage Japan Go Wooden Bowls – Slate & Seashell Stones

Vintage Japan Go Wooden Bowls - Slate & Seashell Stones


Pair of vintage Japanese bowls and game pieces used in playing the game of Go. The set is less than 40 years old and includes two wooden bowls as well as black and white stones. We have not counted the stones and are unsure if the numbers are complete. The black stones are made of slate while the white stones are seashell. Many of the stones are worn and chipped with evidence of past use. The bowls are in good condition though one bowl has some repaired damage at the underside and both bowls have marks and scratches from handling and past use. This set of Japanese Go bowls and stones is ready to once more facilitate pleasant hours of intellectual challenge between worthy Go players. This set does not include a game board which must be purchased separately.

Size of each bowl

Height: 3.5 inches (9.0 centimeters)
Diameter: 4.9 inches (12.5 centimeters)
Weight of both bowls including stones: 48.2 ounces (1376 grams)

Click here to see additional items from Japan

More about the game of Go

When I was about ten years old my father came home one day with a new board game which he intended to teach my brother and I to play.  The game board was made of wood with equally spaced lines running across the surface in a pattern which created dozens of small squares.  The game was played with pieces that resembled small black and white stones, which were separated by color and stored in two small wooden bowls.  The rules of the game were simple, and within an hour after supper that evening my father and I were engaged in our first game of Go together.  Years later, during my first visit to Japan I was delighted to spot groups of old men playing Go out in the open in public parks.  After moving to Japan I began to notice Go halls here and there in my community, where fans of the game would gather to compete on an amateur level.  I spotted Go columns in the newspaper and even saw professional games aired on television!  Truly this game, which had been a novel and exotic pastime in my youth, was a serious affair in Japan and, as I would later learn, most of China and Korea as well as with ardent fans the world over!

The game of Go has its roots in China where it was developed roughly 4,000 years ago.  The game spread to Korea and eventually to Japan when Buddhist priests brought the game with them from the continent in the 5th century.  Largely unchanged since ancient times, the rules are simplicity themselves and can be learned in less than an hour, while the strategy and tactics needed to master the game can take a lifetime to master.  The object is simply to lay claim to as much board space as possible before the match is declared over by mutual consent of both players.  Territory is marked out by placing one’s stones upon the board at points where the lines intersect such that a boundary of stones is created around the area one wishes to claim.  But beware, for your opponent may try to block your progress or even muscle in on your space through strategic placement of their own stones or by deliberate offensive moves meant to capture yours!  The decisions, maneuvers and sacrifices of the game in many ways create a black and white map of wits upon the board which has earned the game the nickname “hand conversation”.  Top Go players often begin their careers at a young age and even today in Japan it is not uncommon for budding champions to take up residence in the home of their master as they prepare for their debut upon the professional Go circuit.

item code: R1S4-0005766
ship code: G3




  1. Ever since I was a child, it has always fascinated me to know about the history of the Japanese culture, whether it is about the ancient ninja figures, the evolution of their warrior weapons, or about the traditional clothes they wear that up to now I find beautiful. But I seldom come across stories about Japanese games and it is nice to know about the game of Go and their wooden bowls and black and white chips. It’s amazing how such simple game pieces can develop the wits as you try to master the game strategies and tactics. I would much rather play the game of Go anytime than play the wii!

    Thanks for this very informative post!

  2. hi how much is this item to buy

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