An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Maxi tupu 馬戲圖譜

Aug 31, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Maxi tupu 馬戲圖譜 is a short text on a Chinese board game. Authorship is attributed to the Song-period 宋 (960-1279) poetess Li Qingzhao 李清照 (1084-1155), who wrote several poems on horse racing (e.g. the rhapsody Damafu 大馬賦). The word maxi today denotes horse performances in a circus, while the word dama means "horse racing" or any other way of using horses in games, like in polo. This is also like the board of the game is designed. Each participant moves forward by the numbers on two dice. The designations for combinations of the pips are listed in a long table.

The text is found in the series Yimen guangdu 夷門廣牘 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.

Figure 1. Board and pieces of a Maxi board game
The table to the left presents the name of combinations of pips on three dice, beginning with four of a kind (tangyin 堂印), and six of a kind (biyou 碧油).
Fan Yangmei 樊楊梅 (2021). "Biao yu li: Cong Dama fu kann Li Qingzhao de shidu yu aiguo: Jian ji qi zai cishi shang de diwei 表與里:從《打馬賦》看李清照的嗜賭與愛國——兼及其在詞史上的地位", Hanjiang Shifan Xueyuan xuebao 漢江師範學院學報, 2021 (8): 33-37.
Zhang Meidong 張媚東 (2023). "Youxiti de linglei shuxie: Lun Li Qingzhao Dama fu bianti, zunti yishi 遊戲體的另類書寫:論李清照《打馬賦》辨體、尊體意識, Honghe Xueyuan xuebao 紅河學院學報, 2023 (2): 74-79.