Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Lewis Chessmen

The Lewis Chessmen

Probably made in Norway, about AD
Found on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

The chess pieces consist of elaborately worked walrus ivory and
whales' teeth in the forms of seated kings and queens, mitred
bishops, knights on their mounts, standing warders and pawns in the
shape of obelisks.

They were found in the vicinity of Uig on the Isle of Lewis in
mysterious circumstances. Various stories have evolved to explain
why they were concealed there, and how they were discovered. All
that is certain is that they were found some time before 11 April
1831, when they were exhibited at the Society of Antiquaries at
Scotland. The precise findspot seems to have been a sand dune where
they may have been placed in a small, drystone chamber.

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