Lot #104. John Company Juggernaut Reproduction Chessmen


John Company Juggernaut Reproduction Chessmen

A reproduction of the famed Indian John Company Juggernaut chessmen in Mammoth ivory crafted by Oleg Raikis. In 1600, Queen Elizabeth enacted a Royal Charter for the East India, exporting goods from the East to England. To protect itself and its cargo, the East India Company formed its own private army, which came to be known as “the John Company,” supposedly because the English troops often became sunburned, reminding people of the red-faced John Bull, an eighteenth-century allegorical character who personified the English people.. The East India Company pieces represent troops of the John Company, and they sit on white ivory bases. The pieces of the Indian side represent native troops, and they sit on brown bases. The king and queen have two figures riding in a howdah atop an elephant. The mahout, who drives the elephant, sits just in front. Each king’s howdah is covered with a canopy. The knights each hold a long lance upright. The bishops are among the most noteworthy pieces. The bishops on the John side are chariots, each driven by a helmeted soldier and pulled by prancing horses. On the Indian side the Bishops are Juggernaut carts, which give the set its name. The cart is a highly ornate, complex three-story vehicle with numerous arches. Actual Juggernaut carts had religious significance; it was a custom for pilgrims to throw themselves in front of these carts and be crushed, releasing the soul. The King stands 4-1/2” tall. The set 8 months in the making in 2004.