Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Chess Piece, Pawn

Object Name:
Chess piece
Date:
8th–11th century
Geography:
Attributed to Iran, probably Nishapur
Medium:
Ivory
Dimensions:
H. 1 9/16 in. (4 cm)
Classification:
Gaming pieces
Credit Line:
Pfeiffer Fund, 1972
Accession Number:
1972.9.22
Not on view
The dot-in-circle motif recalls designs presumed to be of magical significance, most likely an abstract eye to ward off the evil-eye, which serves an apotropaic function. Easily reproduced with a tool and visible in many cultures and times, this symbol may have lost its meaning, and become simply a decorative pattern, or may have one that we have not yet discovered.
[ Saeed Motamed, Frankfurt, until 1972; sold to MMA]
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. 7 (b/w).

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