Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pawn in the Form of an Indian Lady

Object Name:
Chess piece
18th century
Attributed to India, possibly Rajasthan
Ivory; painted, gilded, and lacquered
2 1/8 in. high (5.4 cm high)
Gaming pieces
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome A. Straka Gift, 1974
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
Chess originated in India and has been popular in Islamic world for centuries. This ivory chess piece from the eighteenth century is a pawn in the form of a woman. The figure’s round skirt, decorated with gold leaf and small piercings, forms a steady base for the piece. A long braid hangs down from the back of her head. Because the entire surface is covered with paint, gilding, and lacquer, the piece was once thought to have been made of wood rather than ivory.
[ Saeed Motamed, Frankfurt, until 1974; sold to MMA]
New York. Asia Society. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," October 14, 2004–January 18, 2005, no. 3:11.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," February 26, 2005–May 15, 2005, no. 3:11.

Middlebury College Museum of Art. "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," September 8, 2005–December 11, 2005, no. 3:11.

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. 3 (b/w).

Mackenzie, Colin, and Irving Finkel, ed. Asian Games The Art of Contest. New York: Asia Society, 2004. no. 3:11, p. 52, ill. pl. 3:11 (color).

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