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On an island that is still inhabited today, a hidden stash of chess pieces was discovered. The finding of these gaming pieces was by no means commonplace because there were several dozen pieces and they were all intricately carved. The chess pieces are rare because they were made completely out of solid walrus tusks and five were made from whale's teeth. The original story behind the chess pieces is not clearly obtained. There are different stories ranging from an escaping sailor hiding the chessmen to a travelling merchant leaving them behind. Without knowing who the original owner of the chess collection was, we can hypothesize that the pieces were obtained with a considerable amount of wealth. The ninety three piece hoard would have required the skill of a master carver as well as a decent amount of time for completion. The chessmen were allegedly found in 1831 A.D. by a wondering peasant. Scholars debate about who found the collection and where exactly they found it. Most believe that the pieces were found on the Bay of Uig on the Isle of Lewis located in what is today the Scottish Hebrides. The Lewis chessmen are one of the most unique chess collections that exist because of their age, composition, the intricate nature of the carvings, and the size of the collection. It is important to study objects from different time periods because it can tell us about aspects of culture and the role that the objects had in the society. The Lewis chess pieces show aspects of Scandinavian culture and represent the influence of gaming in Medieval society.


Medieval Europe



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