Chessmen (32)


Not on view

The sides are distinguished by their different repoussé patterns. One has a four-petaled flower design on the tops of the major pieces, except the king and queen; on the tops and sides of these is an allover diaper of an almond-shaped motif, which is also on the tops of the pawns. The sides of the pawns are decorated with vertical lines. The other side has a petal design on the tops of all the pieces, pawns included; the sides of the king and queen have a diaper leaf motif. The sides of the pawns are decorated with a herringbone pattern.

This set is for Muslim use. According to Ganeshi Lall of Agra, from whom it was acquired by Mr. Pfeiffer in 1931, it was made for Diwan Todar May, in the period of Akbar (the Timurid ruler of Hindustan from 1556 to 1605). There is no proof of such an early date, but these shapes were in existence in the eighteenth century, as we know from Thomas Hyde's Syntagama Dissertationem (Oxford, 1767; see Murray, History of Chess, p. 89). The set should probably be ascribed to the reign of Akbar II (1806–1837).

Chessmen (32), Silver, Indian

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.