Pair of purple elm wood container with Dali marble Weiqi seeds

Known as one of the four essential skills in classical scholarly training, Weiqi was a famous pastime of the literati during the 16th century. This pair of Weiqi containers is made from densely coloured zelkova, also called "Ziyu" by the northern craftsmen as it was unlike other varieties of zelkova. Found only in the warmer regions of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, its distinctive features are light-coloured rings of porous structures that show up graphically against the deep brown wood. This design skilfully emulates its traditional pottery versions. There are one hundred and seventy-four game pieces of black Dali stone and one hundred and sixty-seven white pieces. According to the Ming scholars, Zhang Yingwen and Wen Zhengheng, the beauty of Dali stone are integral to the game for its purity of the colours, "white as jade, black as ink".