Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Chess Set

Object Name:
Chess set
Date:
12th century
Geography:
Iran, Nishapur
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Stonepaste; molded and glazed
Dimensions:
Largest piece (King) H. 2 in. 5.5 cm Diam. 2 1/8 in. (4.4 cm) Small piece (pawn) H. 3.3 cm. Diam. 2.9 cm
Classification:
Gaming pieces
Credit Line:
Pfeiffer Fund, 1971
Accession Number:
1971.193a–ff
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
This nearly complete chess set is one of the earliest extant examples in the world. The pieces are abstract forms: the shah (king) is represented as a throne; the vizier (the equivalent of the queen) is a smaller throne; the elephant (bishop) has two tusklike protrusions; the horse (knight) has a triangular knob representing its head; the chariot (rook) is rectangular with a wedge at the top; and the pawns are faceted hemispheres with knobs.
[ Saeed Motamed, Frankfurt, until 1971; sold to MMA]
Mexico City. Colegio de San Ildefonso. "Arte islamico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York," September 30, 1994–January 8, 1995.

New York. Asia Society. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," October 14, 2004–January 18, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rumi," October 15, 2007–March 5, 2008.

Swietochowski, Marie, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Notable Acquisitions 1965–1975 (1975). p. 145, ill. (b/w).

Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn, Suzanne G. Valenstein, and Julia Meech-Pekarik. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art." In Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. vol. 12. Tokyo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977. ill. pl. 258.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994-Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 46, pp. 136-137, ill. p. 137 (b/w).

Carboni, Stefano. "Chessmen in the Department of Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Scacchi e Scienze Applicate suppl. no. 7, fasc. 15 (1996). ill. p. 4 (b/w).

Mackenzie, Colin, and Irving Finkel, ed. Asian Games The Art of Contest. New York: Asia Society, 2004. no. 12:16, p. 151, ill. (color).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 70, pp. 112-113, ill. p. 112 (color).



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