CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

The King's Game: Chess Sets

2 minute read

It’s frightening to think that chess may be a dying game. With today’s technology, little ones are growing up with computers and smartphones readily at hand so this dismal thought may be true to some extent. Chess clubs are a great place for the younger generation to learn how to play the game; however, playing with as many people as possible to learn new strategies is really a key piece to becoming a master.

The game of chess is not merely a game. It can teach the player many lessons that are useful in the course of life. In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, chess was a part of noble culture; used to teach war strategy, it was dubbed the "King's Game." Strategy, as well as foresight and caution, are just a few things to be learned through an engaging match. We’ve recently acquired three beautiful and enchanting chess sets, each one with their own mysterious story to tell.

Jaques of London Chess Set Owned by Joaquin Amaro

Jaques of London Chess Set Owned by Joaquin Amaro

Every part of this one-of-a-kind chess set by Jaques of London is truly outstanding. Once owned by and customized for Mexican General Joaquin Amaro Dominguez, this set is comprised of African ivory pieces carved in the universally-recognized Staunton design, a classically-styled inlaid rosewood table and matching timer. This extraordinary set includes some very interesting attributes. Jaques created four extra knights all modeled after the general's horse and, the most surprising part, is he ensured the opponent's side of the timer ran faster than his, giving the general quite the tactical advantage.

[caption id="attachment_2697" align="alignright" width="300"] Chinese Ivory Chess Set[/caption]

The intricate carving of this set will astound you. These exceptional pieces, each hand-carved of pure and stained ivory, take the form of highly recognizable Chinese figures. Emperors and empresses serve as the kings and queens, court ministers act as bishops, warrior knights are carved as Mulan, rooks are styled as pagodas, and the eight immortals of Chinese mythology, each seated upon his or her sacred animal, serve as pawns.

Anglo Indian Miniature Chess Table

Anglo Indian Miniature Chess Table

This next set is monumental even though its miniature in size. Carved with tortoiseshell and horn, produced in the region of Vizagapatam in the second quarter of the 19th century, this lovely veneered table has a petal-shaped outline with spandrels applied with pierced scrolling. The pierced foliage has engraved cartouches and the elaborate tabletop is supported on a baluster shaft with quadripartite base and lion paw feet.  The table includes a miniature ivory chess set and a sandalwood box with a sliding lid.

All of these sets are a delight to see in person especially to feel the weight of the larger pieces in your hand. If you are unable to make it into our gallery you can always take a closer look on our website: click here to view our collection of chess sets online.

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