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Chess set

Chess set

  • Place of origin:

    Murshidabad (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1790 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved ivory

  • Museum number:

    IM.42:1 to 32-1910

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Chess set comprising 32 pieces of carved ivory on black stained bases on one side and green stained bases on the other

Place of Origin

Murshidabad (made)


ca. 1790 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved ivory


Height: 58 mm IM.42:13-1910, Width: 21 mm IM.42:13-1910, Depth: 21 mm IM.42:13-1910, Height: 52 mm IM.42:31-1910, Width: 61 mm IM.42:31-1910, Depth: 21 mm IM.42:31-1910

Object history note

Purchased from Messrs Spink & Son, Ltd, 6 King Street, St James's on 5th July 1910 for £10. On acquisition the condition was noted as 'several slightly damaged & fragments missing'. The note on the file by C. Stanley Clarke, dated 11 July 1910, describes them as: 'Figure pieces of ivory quaintly carved in representation (A) of H.E.I.C. troops - officers in Georgian costume on elephant and horseback, and sepoy soldiers: (B) probably of the troops of Tippu Sultan of Mysore. Made at Berhampur, Murshidabad, Bengal, during the second-half of the 18th century, probably about 1790'. There is no corroborating evidence for the identification of (B), or of their place of origin, and no provenance information on the file. (SS 5/8/2016).

A similar set exists in the collection of the State Archaelogical Museum, West Bengal. See Pal, Pratapaditya, "Something Old, Something New: ruminations on Indian chess", p.32-43, in 'The Art of Play: board and card games of India', Ed. Andrew Topsfield, published by Marg Publications, 2006, illus. p.32 and p.41.

Descriptive line

Chess set comprising of thirty-two pieces, carved ivory, Murshidabad, ca. 1790








South & South East Asia Collection

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