Chessmen (32)


Not on view

One player would have the shells for pawns with the aperture up, the other with it down. The knights alone give an indication of the original meaning of the game; they are the tallest pieces. Below the mane a classical leaf is set along the horse's back, probably an intrusion from Western art. the names of the pieces, translated, are lord, minister, nobleman, horse, and boat. In the last piece there is a correspondence with chess in Bengal, Java, and Annam, and also Russia, the sole country in Europe to substitute a boat for the rook. It has been pointed out that in Siam, Annam, and Russia, in the past, the principal means of transport was by water, and hence boats take the place of chariots or carts. When playing, the kings face the opponents queen, and the pawns are placed two rows in front of the major pieces, leaving an empty row between them. Similar pieces are used in Siam.

Chessmen (32), Wood, shell, Cambodian

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