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Indian Emerald and Ruby Chess Set

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Indian Emerald and Ruby Chess Set

- Item No.

This rare and majestic Mogul-style chess set hails from Jaipur, India

Key Features

  • This exceptional Indian chess set is comprised of emerald and ruby pieces
  • Each piece in this Mogul-style set is carved from a single gemstone
  • Mahogany and frost glass provide an exquisite field of play
  • 20th century
  • King: 2 high; Board: 20 1/4 square x 4 5/8 high

Item Details

  • Height:
    4 5/8 Inches
  • Period:
    20th Century
  • Origin:
    Other
Magnificent emeralds and rubies comprise this stunning Indian chess set. Carved with the utmost skill by artists in Jaipur, India in the ancient Mogul style, this set features 1,764 carats of rubies as the red side, while 1,160.5 carats of emeralds were carved to serve as the green side. The two opposing armies, with warriors riding elephants (with a driver for the kings), horses and camels, and pawns on foot, face each other in their best 24K gold-painted finery, and each piece was carved of a single unpolished gem. Meeting on a field of frosted glass set into a mahogany base, this set is one of the most intriguing we have ever seen.

20th century

King: 2" high
Board: 201/4" square x 4 5/8" high

The game of chess was first played in India in the 6th century. Known then as Chaturanga, which means "four limbs" in Sanskrit, the game had two essential features which tie it to chess as we know it today. First, different pieces made different moves, which distinguished it from games such as checkers and Go, and secondly, victory depended on the fate of one piece, the king. 

There are, however, some aspects of Indian chess that are different from the game as it is played today. Instead of black and white, traditional colors were green and red, as exhibited in this set. Chess was not only a game to be played for recreation, but represented the Indian military strategy of the past era. It was featured in the epic poem, the Mahabharata, in which the name Chaturanga means "army," with its four parts, or limbs, being elephants, chariots, horsemen, foot soldiers. The pieces had different names, as modern pieces take their names from European titles. Indian pieces are called raja (king), minister (queen), the bishop is hathi, or elephant, a  knight is known as a ghora, rooks are ratha and the pawns are known as padah. In addition, it is also believed that chess was originally a dice game, with gambling, but that this aspect was removed due to Hindu and Muslim religious objections.   

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Price: $88,500
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