An Antique Muslim Rock Crystal Chess Set
An Antique Muslim Rock Crystal Chess set, 2.5″ tall with a 1.4″ diameter base, carved in squat and tapering cylindrical forms with domed tops, painted in gilt decorated with floral motifs in gilt, one side predominantly red, the other side predominantly green, with a red cloth board with stitched squares. The overall bullet shape design is very plain, typically found in earlier Muslim chess sets. These sets were predominately made in Northern India, probably in the late 1800s.
Rock Crystal was sometimes used to adorn reliquaries in churches a colorless transparent quartz. it was highly valued and was sometimes used in chess sets for nobility. Two such sets now known as the Ager Chessmen were willed to a convent of Saint Giles in Agur Catalonia. The first was bequeathed in 1008 by Ermengaud I, count of URGEL who was killed fighting the moors. About 50 years later, his sister-in-law willed her own set of rock crystal pieces to the church.