Saturday, 27 August 2011
More from The Chessmen Exhibition
The exhibition at the Stornoway Museum didn’t just have chessmen. There were other interesting finds on display like this ivory belt buckle. The one item in the Lewis hoard that was not a chesspiece it is thought that this may have been on the belt that fastened the bag holding the chessmen.
The item in the front of this case is a walrus ivory reliquary - probably made in Trondheim in the 12th century and originally the leg of a throne like those in which the chessmen kings are shown seated.
This ring from the 12th or 13th century was discovered near Mealasta in a midden (rubbish pit) near one of the possible sites of the original chessmen finds. It is made of bronze and provides evidence of occupation for the period when the chessmen would have been in use.
Morse, or walrus ivory, was the favoured material for carving chessmen but was hard to obtain so in some cases whale tooth ivory was used instead.
The long tusk is walrus ivory and the smaller, hollow tooth on the left is from a sperm whale.
The detail on this King shows the quality of some of the carving.