Large Vizagapatam Chessmen by Oleg Raikis.
A set of elaborately carved, Large Vizagapatam Chessmen, Natural and Green-stained Mammoth Ivory. The King stands a massive 7-0” tall with a 1-3/4″ diameter base. These extraordinary chessmen were created by noted sculptor and Mammoth Ivory Carver Oleg Raikis. These chess pieces are an exact reproduction of sets produced by the East Indian John Company between 1790 and 1830. The chessmen were crafted in 2004 and are as new. The Cantonese chessboard shown is not included in this offering, but can be purchased elsewhere on this site. For our extensive selection of antique, traditional and unique chessboards, please click here.
The East India Company was established in Vizagapatam around 1670. In the early 18th Century, a furniture manufacturing industry developed in the region. Specialties included inlay, carving and turning work with ivory, Sandalwood, rosewood and Tortoise shell. By the early 19th century, Buffalo and Elk horn were added to the artisan materials. By the beginning of the 19th century, elaborately carved and turned ivory chess sets such as this on, were being produced for sale on the very lucrative European market.
Visakhapatnam (or, phonetically, Vizagapatam) is the largest city, both in terms of area and population in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The city is nestled between the Eastern Ghats mountain range and the Bay of Bengal, and is often known as The Jewel of the East Coast, The City of Destiny and the Goa of the East Coast.
Visakhapatnam’s history stretches back to the 6th century BC. Archaeological records suggest that the present city was built around the 11th and 12th centuries. Conquered by the Mughals in the 16th century, European powers eventually set up trading interests in the city, and by the end of the 18th century it had come under French rule. Control passed to the British in 1804 and it remained under British colonial rule until India’s independence in 1947.
History Of The Chess Pieces.
The Mammoth tusk is excavated from the permafrost of the Siberian tundra, which the woolly mammoth inhabited for more than 160,000 years. During the last ice age, the mammoth went extinct as the direct result of rapidly plummeting temperatures. The dry, cold environment of Siberia combined with the massive sheets of ice from the ice age created the ideal environment for the preservation of Mammoth byproducts. The woolly Mammoths have been entombed under the Siberian permafrost ever since, waiting to be unearthed.
For more than 2,000 years, Mammoth Tusk has been traded and it remains a highly prized commodity across the world. While the demand for the Mammoth byproducts has always been higher than its supply, it began its steep rise when the international ivory ban was enacted. This agreement banned all sales of new Elephant or Walrus Ivory, in an effort to protect the animals from extinction. As a result, Mammoth tusks became the only type of animal-based ivory that is exempt from the international trade restrictions. Over the past few years, the price of Mammoth tusks has more than tripled, due largely to the unprecedented demand for luxury goods from such emerging countries as India and China. This trend is expected to continue. Less than one percent of the Mammoth tusks harvested is of suitable quality for the manufacturing of Chess pieces, thus adding the production costs and long-term value.