Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Chessmen (32)

Date:
18th–19th century
Culture:
Russian, Kholmogory
Medium:
Walrus ivory
Dimensions:
Height (each king): 3 in. (7.6 cm);
Height (each pawn): 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm)
Classification:
Chess Sets
Credit Line:
Gift of Gustavus A. Pfeiffer, 1948
Accession Number:
48.174.123a–p, aa–pp
Not on view
Eastern convention is followed in having a general instead of a queen, and an elephant instead of a bishop-with a rider for the "good" side, without for the 'bad" side. Russian convention has ships for rooks; here they too are differentiated, by being double-masted on the "good" side, having only one mast on the other. The white king, general, and pawns are dressed like Roman soldiers, the corresponding red pieces like Turks. The white king and general have European mid-eighteenth-century hairstyles, with long curls above the ears and long queues tied with a ribbon at the neck. This set is thus very characteristic of a group of Russian sets in which some Eastern conventions are seen alongside of European ones.
[ Burfitt Ltd. , London, until 1935; sold for £10.6.0 to Pfeiffer ] ; Gustavus A. Pfeiffer , New York (1935–48; to MMA)
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