A recent fresh meat purchase from the very extra excellent Klittich auction house from Germany.
These Vietnam Regence sets are rather underrated, and apart from being well turned, are well worth having. I have a lot of time for this (I believe) family German firm due to their very reasonable shipping charges and most efficient service. This auction house offers pretty decent and accurate descriptions for their lots, so I will include their description, and the set arrived to me superbly packed and with almost no damage at all:-
‘Asia. Vietnam. Régence chess set made of horn, in a wooden storage box. One side stained in black, the other in black with white caps. Produced in Vietnam, in the second half of 20th century. King 6,5 cm high, pawn 2,8 cm. Complete chess set in Régence style. A stylish set with minor chips and damages.’
This was a most welcome surprise. I have a great fondness for the Regence type of chessmen as they ooze of history. Although these likable sets are generally described as from Vietnam, I am far from sure why, and the heads, or caps, are detachable. These sets usually are sold with a mother of pearl inlaid board and sometimes appear on E Bay. Recently I contacted a good friend of mine to ask why these sets are attributed to Vietnam, and he confirmed his similar set was purchased from a Dutch collector who picked the set up over there. One could make a little joke and ask why do the pieces have removable heads or caps? – blame the French -, after all they invented the Guillotine, and perhaps the chessmen were a reminder of what might happen to locals who refused to play ball!
Readers – don’t believe a word of this nonsense, and if this appears on google photos as God knows where the cut and pasted descriptions will end up. It would not surprise me if the knight head carving is attributed to a Richard Whitty – all for a fistful of dollars or a few dollars more!