This 14th century painting depicts a group of five scholars (also called literati) enjoying a game of go in an outdoor setting. Tea is being brewed in the foreground while the participants and their servants look on.
Ideally, literati masters were learned men of culture who had broad interests ranging from calligraphy and painting to music and the collecting of books and antiquities. It was Confucian tradition that scholars be embodiments of moral, intellectual and artistic perfection. The ancient board games of go (wei-ch'i), Chinese chess (hsiang ch'i) and double sixes (liu-po) symbolized this valued trait of intellectual refinement.