Although board games were used in China as early as the Shang dynasty (about 1600-1027 b.c.), it is likely that "Chinese" chess was invented in north India during the sixth century and spread to China and the West along trade routes.
This huang-hua-li board is inlaid with silver on one side for the game of hsiang-ch'i, or elephant chess. The thirty-two ivory markers are differentiated by a single inscribed character, colored in red or black. Chinese paintings and illustrated books show scenes of scholars playing the games of chess and wei-ch'i (go) out-of-doors. This board folds up, making it convenient to transport and use outside.