This photo, published on March 24, 2008, shows characters of ancient Chinese and Western Xia language on the chess piece. [Photo: xinhuanet]
Archeologists found an ancient metal Chinese chess piece with rare and already extinct characters on it in Wuwei, a city in northwestern China's Gansu Province.
The piece has a diameter of 2.5 centimeters and the character "Shi", or "guard" in chess games, cast on one side and its Western Xia language cast on the other side, website xinhuanet.com reported.
The copper chess piece is the first archeological finding in China that bears the extinct Western Xia Language, experts at the Wuwei City Museum said.
Western Xia Dynasty existed from 1038 up to 1227 and its unique Western Xia language disappeared after the fall of the kingdom.
(CRI March 25, 2008)