Sunday, May 13, 2007

My Chessboard

I have seen Pharaonic chessboards in the Khan Al Khalili. They are interesting - either chunky simplistic ones in camel bone and stained camel bone, or small detailed ones in pharaonic black and gold and made in China - but with very small pieces and spindly and fragile in appearance.

I had considered buying one at one stage and priced one of the better camel bone options.

That stopped me cold as they were hundreds of dollars. Admittedly this was the first option price and open to a very great deal of negotiation.

I have also been worried that I have been here too long as the touristic souvenir sphinxes and figures are starting to look attractive. It is odd that when we have seen something again and again in all sorts of contexts, even good images start to be kitsch - like the Mona Lisa.

Anyway - I decided to use the figures to make my own chess set - with scarabs for pawns, one side black and one side coloured. I have rooks which are pyramids, a king and a queen, and Bastet, the cat figure for bishops. I struck out with the knights a little. I considered camels, but they didn't really look right with Pharaonic figures. There are no horses in ancient Egyptian imagery. I compromised in the end, with canopic jars with animal heads on the black side, and sphinxes on the coloured side.

I am very happy with it - but the photography was rough and a little awkward. Have a look.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Lisa Walton said...

I can't play chess but your new chess set is just itching to be touched.

10:55 pm  
Blogger Sam Bowker, somewhere distant and exotic. said...

That's cool Mum - just so tacky on the colourful side especially, and remarkably appropriate for the contemporary Khan el Khalili! Classic!

That's much better than buying your own pre-made chess set, and I'll bet it was fun trying to find all the pieces one afternoon :)

Love, FBS.

11:43 pm  
Blogger Cairogal said...

Gorgeous set-I prefer the wood pieces on that board, myself. They have some nice soapstone and alabaster sets, too.

9:53 am  
Blogger Nic Bridges said...

How unique - I love it!!!

6:57 pm  
Anonymous Cherry Jackson said...

It looks intriguing but my eyes keep being distracted by the gorgeous table - what is it made of?

3:38 pm  
Blogger Calender Page said...

Jdnny, gorgeous chess set Aren't there horses drawing Ramses #? chariot in Abu Simbel frescos. They did have horses. But they don't seem to make them for tourists.

9:00 am  
Blogger zero said...

Your blog is great.
Good job.

1:00 am  

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