Encore Exhibition Postcards

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These beautiful 5 x 7" postcards are from our exhibition entitled "Encore," which entails Jon Crumiller's extensive collection of ivory chess sets from around the world.

"Burmese" Style Ivory Set

"Once thought to be a style of set created in Burma, which today is known as Myanmar, research has proven that this ornate type of set was actually produced in China. This ornately carved set features heavily ornamented, tall pieces better suited for display than play. The sets both also feature figural representations of rulers, horses, and towers atop bases with elaborate floral decoration."

Berhampore Kashmir Ivory Set

"Whimsical architectural and botanical forms inspired the creators of this elaborate ornamental chess set. Once believed to have been created in Kashmir, the northwestern region of South Asia, research by expert Michael Mark has shown that the area did not have major ivory markets during the period when pieces like this were produced. Sets in this style were made almost exclusively for export to Great Britain."

Dieppe Green / White Set

"Chess sets created by the master carvers of Dieppe, France, were sought-after souvenirs among British tourists who visited the coastal town. This set features the theme of European military forces attacking those of Africa, a popular subject among the tourists and artists in Dieppe. Though the production of ivory souvenirs in Dieppe decreased after the French Revolution, it was revived after Napoleon bought ivory products there."

French Figural Ivory Set

"The theme of this set is the meeting of the English King Henry VIII and the French King Francis I at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The two kings, along with their retinues, met near Calais, France, in 1520 for a gathering intended to increase the bonds of friendship between the two nations. The French and the English tried to outdo each other with extravagant shows of wealth. Many of the tents and much of the clothing worn by the guests was made of cloth of gold, an expensive fabric composed of gold and silk, which lent its name to the diplomatic meeting. The two queens, Catherine of Aragon and Claude of France, bear resemblance to the historical figures upon whom they are based."

French Waterloo Ivory Set

"Many of the pieces in this polychromed chess set are based upon historical figures from the French Emperor Napoleon's final conflict, the Battle of Waterloo. On the French side, Napoleon is king and the Empress Marie Louise is queen, the bishops are Marshals Michel Ney and Jean-de-Dieu Soult, and the rooks are columns topped with the French Imperial Eagle, the standard carried by Napoleon's forces into battle. On the British side, King George III and Queen Charlotte lead a force that includes Major-General Lord Edward Somerset (with one arm) and Colonel John Cameron as bishops. The set is paired with a gilded French gaming table."

 German Ivory Bust Set

"The carver of this masterful German set paid great attention to detail in the costumes of the members of the court. Each includes carefully sculpted details like jewelry, elaborate headpieces, and delicate lace. The infantrymen wear ivory representations of metal morion helmets, which were generally used during the 16th and 17th centuries."

Indian Ivory Playing Set

"Though made during the second half of the 19th century, this set includes knights created in a much earlier style. The horses, with their arched necks and downcast faces, resemble those found in Indian sets produced for the British export market during the late 18th century. The other parts of the set are in a style commonly produced during the mid-to-latter 19th century. This set is paired with an elaborately carved board, featuring beasts and human figures amongst a foliate background."

Indian Muslim Polychrome Set

"Though simple in form, with kings and queens resembling spools, this set glows due to its brilliant colors. It is decorated with gilding in quatrefoil patterns on the stems and tops of the bases, as well as chevron patterns around the bottoms. Islamic art often incorporates geometric patterning like this in the place of figural representation."

Inuit Walrus Ivory Set

"Creatures of the arctic, including bears, whales, eagles, seals, and walrus take center stage in this charming mid-20th-century chess set. As in Kholmogory, Russia, there were long traditions of bone and ivory carving in Alaska that artists adapted to creating trade items after contact with outside cultures. These included scrimshaw and small decorative items, and by the late 19th and early 20th centuries incorporated chess sets. This set embraces the unique qualities of walrus ivory, which often gains a yellow and white marbled quality with age, to depict the two opposing sides. This set is paired with an Inuit chessboard made of strips of woven fur."

Italian Figural Ivory Set

"The ancient conflicts between the Greek and Achaemenid (First Persian) empires form the theme for this militaristic set. Each culture is brought to life through rooks that resemble their famous architecture for the Persian side, this includes lamassu, or winged bulls with the faces of men, that adorned monuments in cities like Babylon and Persepolis. Additionally, each has pieces that speak to the cultures of each empire, including philosophers as bishops for the Greek side and musicians on each side with native instruments. The set appears on a simple and classic 21st-century board."

Ivory Bust Set

"Blending ivory and gilded metal decoration, this gorgeous chess set is an example of chryselephantine, or sculpture incorporating both media. Though an ancient art form, chryselephantine sculpture was popular among artists of the Art Nouveau movement, which flourished in Europe and the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This movement embraced art that looked back to a romanticized version of pre-industrial times."

John Company Set Elephant

"In this John Company Set, leaders stationed in howdahs, or carriages atop the backs of elephants, lead two armies to war. This is called a composite set because it contains associated pieces with slightly different bases from more than one set, though each was created during the same era and possibly even the same place. Though the bishops, queens, and black king have slightly different bases, the quality of the carving may indicate that these could have been made by the same creators."

John Company Set

"East India John Company chess sets derive their title from the nickname of the East India Company, which operated in India until 1874. Some of the John sets depicted the army of the East India Company combatting an Indian army. A carving center staffed by master artisans was established in Berhur, India, where the British had built a military barracks. There, beautiful chess sets like this one were produced to meet the demand of British citizens living in India, as well as visiting tourists and foreign dignitaries. The set is paired with an Indian board that includes the iconography of Indian chess sets on the white squares on the back rank."

Russian Kholmogory Mammoth Set

"A much rarer style of Kholmogory set than the full-length figural pieces also on display in this exhibition, this set features kings, queens, bishops, and pawns with carved faces atop egg-shaped bases with decorative grooves."

Samuel Pepys Set

"This Samuel Pepys set is named not for its maker, but for a famous man once believed, but now disproven, to have been given a set of this type by King James II of England. Made in India, it features a hybrid of British and Indian stylistic influences. The towers on the rooks, as well as the shapes of the bishops, communicate the taste of the British consumers of the sets, while the carved decorations reflect the artistic traditions of India. The tall, slender forms of the sets made them impractical for playing, as they could be easily knocked over during a game. The set is paired with a Sadeli Indian board. Sadeli is a type of micro mosaic with repeating geometric patterns. Examples of Sadeli work date back to the 16th century."

 

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