Chess Piece, King, Terracotta; incised

Chess Piece, King

Object Name:
Chess piece
11th–12th century
Attributed to Iran, probably Nishapur
Terracotta; incised
H. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm)
Gaming pieces
Credit Line:
Pfeiffer Fund, 1975
Accession Number:
Not on view
Caliphal decrees prohibited the playing of chess (the pieces of which are customarily figural) for iconoclastic reasons as early as the eighth century. It is likely that chess pieces of the abstract type, such as those exhibited here, replaced the figural ones in order to circumvent those decrees.
[ Saeed Motamed, Frankfurt, until 1975; 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. 5 (b/w).