Late19th century Chinese ivory disc chess set

This delightful chess/backgammon disc set was a recent purchase via The Saleroom – the close-up photo is courtesy of John Nicholson Auctions. :-

A SET OF CHINESE SIXTEEN STAINED RED AND SIXTEEN WHITE COUNTERS, 2.5cm, carved with figures and c (the-

saleroom.com) 

With the impending  ban on the sale of ivory, prices for items in this material are falling, but I have wanted a set of these for some years now, and to get one at an affordable price was simply too good to pass up. These little beauties are about 2.2cms wide and 0.45cm thick, not too big to appreciate the amazing workmanship of the ‘Chin’ boys ”  – a CCI member kindly informed me that young boys assisted in the carving of these disc sets. Page 123 of the widely respected Gareth Williams’ superb collectors’ book ‘Masterpieces’ gives these Chinese disc sets fully deserved praise. Such lovely items were not made for gorillas, sumo wrestlers, or fish and chip munchers. To handle these delicate collectables requires nimble hands, so when one has a big think about who the Chinese carvers had in mind to sell to perhaps they might have been targeted at ladies ………… or men with deep pockets?! .  As an exercise I asked a few questions in CCI circles but did not find out very much about serious-minded female chess collectors. For obvious reasons my wife Pauline offers me superb support in this pleasure of mine but will offer on occasion, a scathing criticism on infected Thanksgiving turkey purchases which I will sometimes plead guilty to. The best info I could obtain was that perhaps wives, partners and family would have a vested interest in these lovely collectables, however in today’s world many womens’ pay packets exceed mens’ which is a jolly good thing when of course it is deserved.

Skills

Posted on

February 20, 2022

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