The original Lewis chess pieces were dug up on a beach near Uig on the Isle of Lewis over 180 years ago.
Thought to be of Norwegian origin they were individually hand-carved and noted for their unique design and the curious, almost comical expression of each character.
Available Characters (left to right in image above)
The King: He grasps a sword that symbolizes strength on the battlefield and justice at home. His cloak is pinned on one shoulder leaving his other arm free to wield the sword.
The Queen: To modern eyes, the queen may look bored, but to her contemporaries, her expression was one of thought and contemplation. In Arabic chess sets the position of the Queen was occupied by the King’s adviser - the “vizier.” When chess came to Europe, the Vizier was transformed into the Queen. Her thoughtful expression of derives directly from the role of the vizier.
The Berserker: The Berserker is depicted biting the top of his shield, an oddity that is explained in one of the Norse sagas, which describes the soldiers of Odin “raging like dogs or wolves, biting their shields and equal in strength to furious bulls or bears. This frenzy was known as Berserksganger, which today we know it as “going berserk.” Biting the shield was a sign of wildness and ferocity.
The Bishop: Besides being highly placed in the social order, bishops were warriors and as such are appropriate participants in the war game of chess.
The Knight: The Knight rides a sturdy pony typical of those native to the Scandinavian countries as well as Iceland and Scotland. The knight wears a helmet and is armed for battle with a swords or a spear and a
shield. The shield has a heraldic design.
These glass chessmen are made using hand drawings based on the original pieces, which have then been screenprinted onto glass with high firing glass paint and fused in the kiln.
Each piece is approximately 91mm in height and comes with a display ribbon and character tag.
Please specify your character choice when ordering.