This awesome goban set came to Baduk Club on consignment from a Korean player in Denver. Jin Lee got this set about 20 years ago when he received his 6 dan certificate from the Korean Baduk Association (KIBA). Included is a Kaya board, Ebony bowls, Slate and Shell stones, and a decorative fabric cover for the board. The certificate is not included.
The board is 14.8cm thick, and is most likely a Korean kaya. It has a slightly paler color than Japanese kaya, but smells just as sweet. The underside has an inscription from KIBA, and was been sent to r/translator. The TL;DR of the inscription is that the calligraphy on the underside reads "Seek the Truth" and was done by Kim In 9p, who was a student of Kitani Minoru and the managing director of KIBA for as long as anyone can remember (until he passed away in April 2021). He was the 3rd ever 9p in Korea and a pillar of the Go community. The caption on the left says it is Kaya, thay 4 sides have straight lines, that it is 5sun thick, and that it was completed in 2002 by "文麟桓, courtesy name 逸石" (some more investigating to do!).
Here are the indicators of the Kaya board:
- The Cut: it is a Plain-Sawn board (Itame-Kiura) to show off the heart of the tree. This is one of the highest-regarded cuts when the tree is not large enough to be Quarter-Sawn.
- The Grain: You can see that the rings are very wavy, radiating irregularly instead of forming neat semi-circles like Spruce or Pine do. While kaya isn't a rare species, it does take 500-1000 years to grow large enough to be used for a go board.
- The Weight: for its size it is very dense. Kaya retains its resin as it cures (usually for 10 years before the board is shaped), which provides amazing longevity. I forgot to weigh it before I packed it, but the board in its box weighs 27 pounds (without legs, which weigh another 2 pounds).
- The Rings: the growth rings are quite thin because Kaya is slow-growing.
- The Color: the heartwood is a warm, uniform yellow color.
- The Scent: kaya smells sweet like patchouli, or vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves. The easiest access is in the mortices where the legs sit and the sawdust still lingers.
A plain-sawn board leaves beautiful end-grain where both players will sit, and straight lines along each side. The top and bottom have cross-grains in unique patterns like a fingerprint, based on the heartwood of the tree.
The board is in great shape, with only a few errant hits on the edges. Small dents on the surface could be lessened with a damp cloth and hot iron (see my Care instructions), but more will appear with rough play if you do not warn your opponent that Kaya is a soft wood. The board and legs could also stand to be waxed, so a 2oz tin of Monkey Wax v2 will be included so that you can do this if you wish. The legs are stunning, with wide features and a sharply pointed double shoulder - this level of craftsmanship is very rare and beautiful.
Purchased new, such a board would cost about $5000 today, not including bowls and stones. A full suite of photos is included so please look them over to verify the quality.
The bowls are very dark and dense. They are most likely a species of Quince or Ebony, but could be Rosewood. Quince is sometimes called Indian Rosewood for its density and dark grain. Ebony can become brittle over time, so it is also suggested that you use the provided paste wax to treat the bowls.
The stones are slate and shell, a full set of 181 black and 180 white, with a spare stone of each color in addition. The white stones are size 34/35 and the black are size 35/36. Please see the photos for measurements. The clamshells have a gorgeous white color, and are most likely Mexican clams - they have a variety of grades but trend towards moon and snow. The stones have not been refurbished, as it does not seem necessary. A simple wiping of each stone with a damp cloth is recommended.
All in all, this is an outstanding vintage set. One bonus is that the board should not change shape at all because it has cured an extra 30 years, on top of the 10 years a kaya board usually cures in the warehouse and the 1 year of thermal drying. Colorado has a dry climate and the board is perfectly stable having dried slowly over the course of 40 years.
Offers are welcomed.
This item ships from Colorado, USA (with corner protectors). Please allow 3 business days for handling, then you will receive separate tracking notification for 2 parcels. The bowls and legs will be sent separately with the Monkey Wax. If you use a hammer to reseat the legs, please use one with a nylon or rubber head and be as gentle as possible!
Box1 20*20*11 27.1lb
Box2 14*13*6 10.5lb