Pawn in the Form of an Indian Lady

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.

Pawn in the Form of an Indian Lady, Ivory; painted, gilded, and lacquered

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