Meerschaum Sultan Tulip Base Chess Pieces.
A set of Meerschaum Sultan Tulip Base Chessmen, hand-carved in Turkey Set, 20th Century, Kings as Sultans with Queens as viziers. The King stands 3.7″ tall with a 1.4″ diameter base. The Queens are represented as “wazir” and “firzan” or “firz.” The bishops are Elephants (an Indian tradition), the knights are fully carved horses, and the Rooks are reticulated towers. Brown versus White armies are similarly carved. The chessmen are portrayed as figures pieces emerging from tulip-like bases. The chess pieces are housed in their original blue velvet fitted case which closes to form an inlaid chessboard measuring 15″ overall with 1-3/4″ squares. As new condition. Circa 1960.
Meerschaum Sultan Tulip Base Chessmen are made in villages near Eskisehir in Agean Turkey. Nowadays the meerschaum reserves are rapidly being depleted. The meerschaum is mined 30 to 450 feet below the surface. Meerschaum is light weight and soft. Hence, to preserve the integrity of the meerschaum blocks for carving, it is mined traditionally with hand tools. The chess pieces are hand-carved by Turkish artisans when the Meerschaum is soft. After the drying process, the pieces are hand-polished to a smooth luster.