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Mirror back - A Game of Chess

A Game of Chess

  • Object:

    Mirror back

  • Place of origin:

    Paris, France (made)

  • Date:

    first quarter of 14th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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In the period between 1300 and 1325 workshops in Paris enjoyed a thriving market for secular ivory carvings. They produced mirror-cases, combs and gravoirs (hair parters), often selling them as sets in leather dressing cases. Subjects from romance literature appeared frequently. Ivory combs, together with mirror cases and gravoirs for parting the hair, formed an essential part of the trousse de toilette or ├ętui (dressing case) of the typical wealthy lady or gentleman in the Gothic period.

Physical description

They sit under a tent, the board of chess on a small table. A man and a lady playing. On the rim four monsters.

Place of Origin

Paris, France (made)


first quarter of 14th century (made)


unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques



Diameter: 8.5 cm

Object history note

From the Salting bequest.

Descriptive line

Mirror case, ivory, a Game of Chess, France (Paris), first quarter of 14th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. Part II. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1929, p. 46
'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 93



Subjects depicted

Man; Table; Lady; Chess; Tent


Sculpture; Accessories; Games

Collection code


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