Isle of Lewis Chess Set Made from Stone Mix, with Checker Pieces and Optional Personalization

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  • Regular price $269.00
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• Historically Accurate Reproduction of Chess Pieces Discovered in Scotland
• Beautiful, Heavy, Celtic-Themed Chess Board
• Scoop Cut-outs on Either Side of Board for Checker Piece Storage
• Add a Custom-Engraved Plate to the Board as a Gift Message, or in Commemoration
• Gorgeously Stylized Medieval Pieces, Including Unique "Warder" Rooks and 2"-High Kings
• Pawns Are Shaped Like Tower Shields or "Pavises"
• Stylish Checker Pieces Included, with Elegantly Carved Celtic Scrollwork on Them

**We can custom-engrave the chessboard with a small brass plate. Just select the "w/ Engraved Plate" variation and type your text into the personalization box (100 characters max)**

In 1831, a Scotsman named Malcolm "Sprot" MacLeod discovered a trove of medieval game pieces buried on the Isle of Lewis (which is actually the Isle of Lewis and Harris, but that's another story entirely). The game pieces were expertly carved from walrus ivory and were endowed with a unique, slightly comical style. There is some argument as to how Sprot came to find the buried pieces, but if you ask the locals of Lewis, they will insist that a cow actually dug them up. However they were discovered, the pieces eventually found their way into the British Museum in London, where most of them remain to this day.

Our reproduction of the Lewis Game Pieces are made from a high-quality poly-stone mixture (resin and stone ground up together). each of the cardinal pieces measure roughly 2 inches in height and have a solid heft to them. The board is a thing of beauty, weighing an impressive six pounds! It's as solid a surface as you'll ever play on, but don't worry, the entire bottom is covered in felt to keep surfaces safe. The pieces all have felt on the bottom, also. The board is molded from a stone mixture that's made to look like ivory, and trimmed with handsome Celtic scrollwork. Each square on the board has been carved with Celtic knots. We've never played on a more beautiful board.

Each piece has been cast from a lovingly carved reproduction that is entirely faithful to the pieces found at the Lewis site. There were several sets of pieces found at the "bovine" excavation, and the two most iconic were used for this chess set. The wit, humor and intricate details breathed into them by the original medieval artist can be seen on each and every piece. Their faces are crafted with a combination of realism and caricature, the clothing meticulously detailed with patterns and seams, and each side has distinctly different pieces.

Although different from one another, the kings and queens on both sides sit on richly carved wooden thrones, as do the red bishops. In a unique decision by the original artist, the pawns on both sides are shaped like arched stones, or tower shields, that are decorated with ornate Norse scrollwork (different patterns on each side). Another interesting difference from modern chess pieces are the rooks; Instead of towers, the medieval set used specialized medieval warriors known as "wardens." These pieces hold tall shields in one hand and a sword in the other, with distinct differences between the white wardens and the red ones.

This set is the perfect gift for chess enthusiasts, history buffs, anglophiles, Queen's Gambit fans, or anyone who appreciates cow-archeology. Um. Or anyone who loves masterfully crafted collectibles. If you're giving this as a gift, consider adding a custom-engraved plate to immortalize the occasion. Just select the "w/ engraved plate" variation and type your text (max 100 characters) into the personalization box.

Materials: Stone and Resin Mixture