Lot #R152. Ferdinand and Isabella Porcelain Chessmen, Set No. 2

$2,995.00

The polychrome Ferdinand and Isabella Porcelain Chessmen. The King stands an impressive 6-7/8″ tall with a 2-1/8″ base. This is set No.2 our of 100, produced by the Santa Clara Porcelain Factory in the mid-20th Century.

In stock

Description

Ferdinand and Isabella Porcelain Chessmen.

Ferdinand and Isabella
Ferdinand and Isabella

Offered here is a set of Ferdinand and Isabella Porcelain Chessmen, manufactured by the Santa Clara Porcelain Factory. The King stands a statuesque 6-7/8″ tall with a 2-1/8″ diameter base. This is set No.2 out of a limited edition of 100 produced in the mid 20th century.

The set depicts the 15th century Spanish monarchies of Castile and Aragon, which were united in 1469 by the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand. While the shapes of the pieces on both sides are identical, the figures are differentiated not only by the black and white colors of their medieval costumes, but by the highly elaborate patterns that decorate them. Even the shields of the Pawns on each Army are embellished with a different pattern in a different color. The Knight is a graceful horse bedecked in narrow reins and halter that look like tasseled ribbons. These Ferdinand and Isabella Porcelain Chessmen require a chessboard of suitable size and elegance. They should not be displayed on a chessboard with square sizes less than 2-3/4″. The Ideal square size for these chess pieces is around 3″. No chessboard is included with these Chessmen. For our extensive selection of new and antique chessboards, follow this link.

Some Related History.

In 711 CE (Christian Era), the Moorish general, Tariq led his Barber army from North Africa, across the narrowest part of the Mediterranean Sea to the southernmost tip of the Arabian Peninsula. They named the rocky promontory where they landed “Mount of Tariq” (Jabal-al-Tarik in Arabic). We now know it as Gibraltar.

When the moors conquered Iberia, they brought with them their agriculture, architecture, science, art, and literature. They also introduced the game of chess into what is now Spain and Portugal. As the Islamic culture combined with the local Christian and Jewish cultures, intellectual pursuits and arts, flourished. architecture incorporated elaborate tile work, brickwork, and wood carving, and featured, graceful arches, and shaded gardens. The emerging style was a symbiosis of Muslim, Christian and Jewish conventions, resulting in such beautiful buildings as the Alhambra in Granada and the church of Saint Maria, la Blanca, in Toledo, which was formally a synagogue.

Spain became the cultural crossroads for other parts of Europe, spreading Islamic culture (Games of chess, Dice, and Boards), commonly known as The Spanish, Chess of King Alfonso, the Wise, was written in 1284. With illustrations of Persian chess sets and variations of the rules, it provides a link between Arabic and European chess literature and shows that chess was played at court by Spanish Kings and nobility, as well as by ordinary people in marketplaces and other public areas.

Royal royal archives, detail, beautiful, valuable chess sets that were owned by royalty and nobility between the second and late 15th centuries. Unfortunately, few of them still exist. Some of the sets, influenced by Islamic traditions, or abstract, like the rock crystal set. Others are figural, including what came to be known as Spanish pulpit sets, influenced by the Church, which became the main patron of Spanish carvers.

Despite years of cooperation, there were ongoing battles between Moors and Christians, supported by Crusaders from other European countries, who were encouraged by the pope. In the 15th century, Christians regained control of Liberia, expelled the Jews, and drove the Moors out of Spain and Portugal. Chess remained, however, as one of the hallmarks of that remarkable 1750-year period of cultural flowering in southwestern Europe.

Additional information

Weight20 lbs
Dimensions16 × 16 × 12 in

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