The IGS Art Gallery (Wisteria)

The IGS Art Gallery (Chrysanthemum)

The IGS Art Gallery (Plum)

The IGS Art Gallery (Maple)

The IGS Art Gallery (Pine)

Meiji Period Vintage Go Photographs


I G S / contents

I G S - a d m i n i s t r a t i o n


Go is more than simply the world's oldest game. In Japan, China, and Korea Go was regarded as one of the martial arts in the training of warriors, a tool of inquiry and discipline for philosophers, and also one of the four arts (along with music, painting, and calligraphy) that were marks of refinement among the nobility. As a central cultural endeavor Go was frequently invoked in literature and poetry and often appeared as the subject or a backdrop in the graphic arts. The creation of Go stones, bowls, and elaborately decorated Go boards also became a highly developed art form.

The IGS Art Gallery presents a large and varied selection of classical Japanese and Chinese paintings based on Go themes, all from before the 19th century. Many of these works are considered masterpieces in their own right, notably the ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) of the Japanese Edo period as well as some exquisite ink-on-silk paintings. The viewer is invited to savor the subtlety and richness of colors and the mixture of elegant simplicity and intricate complexity of the artists' styles. The diversity of the collection offers constant surprises, from the serene calm of mountain scenery to the tumult of samurai battling demons, from the elegance of famous courtesans to the whimsy of dancing cats. Besides their intrinsic beauty, these paintings offer a rare view of life in distant centuries.

Beneath the surface of the pictures are other treats for the Go enthusiast. Embedded in several of the images are collections of tsume-go (life and death) problems - clicking anywhere will bring up a challenging Go exercise. Some pictures are accompanied by accounts of historical events, legends, and classical literary works. And as Go mirrors life, there is also some humor. Every club and championship match has a few spectators willing to share their suggestions for better moves with everyone present. A few of these characters can be found hiding in the background here and there in the gallery.